The foolishness of the Ukraine crisis in Europe, with a possible solution


“There is no honourable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except it’s ending.” – Abraham Lincoln.

Ordinary citizens in both Europe, Ukraine and Russia don’t want war. It’s rarely that people want war. Propaganda, however, can accelerate sentiments in different and sometimes sinister ways, as often shown in history.

But not rarely, there was a hefty price to pay. The combination of propaganda and ignorance is a dangerous one, because propaganda rarely covers the truth.

There is gross injustice by sending people to war for “a lie”. But the lie can be wrapped and presented in convincing ways through the falsehood of savvy propaganda. Super powers are well able to convince their citizens that they are standing on the right side of history, but rarely they tell the full truth.

The pretext for war in Iraq and Afghanistan through 9/11, was smartly crafted and many secrets in this area will never enter the  public domain. Likewise the assassination of an American President as part of various complexities in history an earlier time,  has been carefully hidden from the public eye, and still is. 

But Russia and the previous Soviet Union has it’s history as well. Likewise various other countries.

The reality which counts is that wars are made through decisions of government leaders and their military commanders. Propaganda and lobbying are often tools to get people in line. War has obviously still a place in history but the risks are higher and leaders need to surf the waves of wisdom to keep on top and prevent drowning or burning themselves. There is little which ordinary people can do to defy this reality we have to live with, still hoping that leaders may change their perceptions, their agenda for the better, rather than losing their mind for the worst in a less than savvy war. It’s a matter of mercy, more than justice. The so-called justice for one perspective is not the justice of combined perspectives.

Mercy is the power of people to decide on the common good in people and groups and nations and to create the best possible solution in a controversial scenario. However, it often does not work that way, and sometimes even people get killed because they tried to end war. 

When you can’t pay e.g. the rent for 3 months because you got a broken leg and can’t work, by law you can be evicted from your house and your family can find themselves homeless. After all you signed a lease contact. Mercy is when the landlord allows you to stay in the house until you are recovered and make up for his lost income when you find a new job. In the meantime, however. your kids can play with fire by night and find the house and everyone dead by day. They screwed up the 2nd lease, being allowed. 

Like this are some leaders in Europe and NATO in this generation. They play with fire by night and may lose the second lease on peace, provided after the Second World War and after the fall of the Soviet Empire. This is what happens at the moment in and around Ukraine.

Neither the people of Ukraine, nor the people of Russia, Europe and the US are bad at large,-  though their governments have the instruments and the power of decision making, to carry out propaganda guided misery, implemented by people who are trained to follow orders and do terrible things. Once war breaks out there is a domino effect on evil because the veil of civilisation is thin and can only be protected by abiding to international law, however with mercy in particular scenarios. 

People are not made for war. When they are sent to fight wars they often come back with PTSD because of the gruesome manifestations of war. People are by nature not often evil, but war can make them both numb and evil through the limits of human compassion on the battle field. The battle field knows neither mercy nor justice. The battle field has its own rules. 

There are still scholars who are intelligently ( and religiously) defending and framing either the Russian system – or the system being used by the US or China. And they can be very convincing for either country. Those countries are very powerful, in different ways. And the propaganda tool to create “the enemy picture” is easily and smartly crafted. Clever but not always wise. No system is that bad that it includes the people of a country as a whole. But propaganda resonates with not always the better instincts of people. When passion meets aggression there is no mercy anymore. When passion meets mercy, wisdom will prevail.   Hence mercy being better than the proclaimed justice of war and the announced wisdom to prepare for this by countries who don’t see the implications of their actions and gamble with the lives of others. 

Regarding Ukraine, what does Russia want?

It is actually more about what Russia doesn’t want. Russia does not want Ukraine in the NATO, and they don’t want any NATO exercises near Russia’s border.

Is that a bad thing? 

No,  I don’t think so. 

It’s a legitimate request based on their own history perhaps and at least their sense of security being compromised. 

If Ukraine would potentially become a NATO State, there could be nuclear missile systems just on the border with Russia. This is a red line for Russia and Russia did not get any reassurances from the West.

Russia did prepare an army to stand ready for a potential invasion of Ukraine. That might well have been the intention, but it did not happen. Meanwhile the US and NATO are preparing a build-up of an army in Eastern Europe close to the borders of Russia.

What is or might be required?

Relaxation of international tensions in Europe on the Ukraine conflict…obviously, through de-escalation and a reasonable agreement.

What could this be?

Let’s rethink for a moment the potential NATO status for Ukraine in favour of a “strict neutrality status” for Ukraine.

This could indeed prevent the prospect of a scenario which could potentially become the “killing fields of Ukraine”, with -perhaps – parts of Europe being involved. The sentiments run very deep in Ukraine. And a regional war in Europe is possible with unknown implications and destruction.

Think of Ukraine as “a neutral State” ( like e.g. Switzerland), keeping as such its independence , – however at the same time Ukraine neither being a NATO State at the disadvantage of Russia, – nor being a “Russian dictated buffer State” at the disadvantage of Ukraine itself. Ukraine will keep this way its independence and can be a prosperous nation, when it changes a deep-rooted culture of internal corruption. The alternative could be destruction of the Ukraine as a country, whilst other countries are busy to try to keep out and fixing “the blame game”.

NATO’s purpose is to defend the freedom and security of its members. By increasingly encroaching on Russian borders by making former Soviet members NATO States, – Europe and the US have been ongoing and moderately provoking Russia, – and this is the cause for Ukraine being a disputed zone in Europe at present. Russia is as such responding to an issue more or less created by NATO and the US. For Russia potential NATO membership for Ukraine is a no-go zone and a red line and they are prepared to prevent this happening at considerable cost. China meanwhile supports Russia to stop expansion of NATO in Europe.

If America seriously addresses Russia’s security concerns (genuinely), and stops NATO to consider and implement membership for Ukraine within the NATO alliance, – a peaceful resolution is “entirely possible,” says former US State Department adviser James Carden. This is the only real requirement. Actually, NATO till so far never seriously contemplated to take Ukraine on as a member on board.

Strict “Neutrality status” for Ukraine under supervision of the UN would be the way out of a bizarre conflict with neither justice nor mercy. But this concept is based on both mercy and justice for all parties who are not willing to risk of a merciless war without justice.

What happens if Russia invades Ukraine?

Western nations are supporting Ukraine, but some responses have been tougher than others. The US and UK have supplied weapons, while Germany plans to send medical support next month but will not supply military equipment.

China supports Russia in stopping NATO extending more to Russian borders and we have to wait and see how this works out.

There has been much talk about sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow. Publicly, the US and European allies are aiming to hit Russia financially like never before if Putin does invade Ukraine. There are calls to cut Russia out of the SWIFT financial system, which moves money from bank to bank around the world. This would be one of the most damaging financial steps they could take, to destruct Russia’s economy immediately and long term. This could isolate Russia from most international financial transactions, including international profits from oil and gas production, which counts for about 40 percent of its revenue. The US considers as well blocking Russia from access to the US dollar, if Russia invades Ukraine.

In the meantime, two superpowers are facing each other fully military equipped over the borders of Ukraine with the US accelerating the risk of a major and potentially escalating conflict, rather than offering a peaceful resolution – and a way out – based on what Russia does not want. And this is simply no NATO membership for Ukraine, that’s all.

The US may think there is justice to punish Russia for meddling in US elections and this is what President Biden promised. But the way he shows power in Europe, without “a way out”, might not be that merciful for the whole of Europe whilst a neutrality status for Ukraine is based on both reason and mercy at a critical time. Mercy for the people of Ukraine, Russia and Europe -and others perhaps – who don’t want a major war, not again.

Group bias for the European partners with the US might be an issue, like group bias is an issue for the Republican Party in the US at the moment, who formally declared the insurrection last year on the 6th of January as “a legitimate political discourse”. Group bias can be a dangerous when people stop thinking for themselves.

Former President Trump once proclaimed the US is “a deeply stupid country”. That’s not true for the majority of the Americans, but if the US is unable to create an enduring peace between European nations and Russia, and escalates tension rather than de-escalate tension in Europe, we may add to the existing list that World War 2 was a victory for both the US and it’s allies, including Russia, but: that both the 3rd European war, the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war and the Vietnam war were deliberate and avoidable and failed wars, at the cost of many.

People who nowadays want war or take the risk on an international escalating conflict, don’t know what war will be.

Hence better to get back to the negotiating table and sign up for Ukraine being a neutral independent state, with neither NATO nor Russian involvement to extend each their territories. Aiming for extending territories is fruitless and mindless business.

The power of choice, with wisdom, based on mercy, lies in grace under pressure. In other words – regarding war: prevention is simply better than cure. And in the crisis of Ukraine it could be that simple…

Thank you.

Paul  Wolf

Irons in fire with the 2016 US Presidential elections


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2POembdArVo       

“The Road We’ve Traveled ”

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Do we ever get such President again?

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Robert Fritz wrote, “It is not what a vision is; it’s what a vision does.”

What does a vision do?… Vision is the ability to see.

Helen Keller was asked, “Is there anything worse than being blind?”.. “Yes,” she replied, “having eyesight but no vision!”
Leaders with myopic vision are so shocking near-sighted that they live only for today. Their vision of the future is murky. They can hardly see beyond their noses. Under pressure they
might be hallucinating.
Leaders with peripheral vision are blindsided by side issues and they get carried away with the waves.. This was e.g. the end of Lyndon Baines Johnson, whilst other US Presidents who went to war were washed up as well in US history, – trapped as due to gross injustice in
some of their misguided considerations.
There have been only a few justified wars in history and being able to make the wisest distinctions at the time  of greatest danger is a contribution hard to select..
But among the existing candidates for the 2016 US President elections is there likely any candidate to impact the US and the rest of the world this way?
The pending 2016 US Presidential elections, at this stage only, seem to bring forward Donald Trump and Ben Carson as the potential Republican nominees.
Hillary Clinton seems the only front-runner for the Democratic party..
One could disagree at some extend on the political views of 44th  US President, but no one really can measure up with the current US President in terms of bringing back what the US Presidency is supposed to be, – after the George W Bush Administration.
Rather than building up momentum for an increased quality, the greatest democratic Republic in the world seems insignificantly able to apply any approved quality criteria designed and being helpful for selecting a  first-class candidate for the US Presidency. Worse actually,.. no serious efforts are made in any party to build up and equip the most likely candidate in front of the public eye.
The choice for the American public, as such, is outrageously poor. The last in part because systems of some increasing dysfunctionality  got the better of the United States House of Representatives,  and the general public seems to be so fat up that they start to prefer outsiders with no experience at all.
Whilst any new US President needs to have time to get familiar with the new job and with all the responsibilities, having no relevant experience could be a national and international security risk.
The United States had 43 Presidents and the 44th has still a bit more than 1 year to go. Of all those Presidents only 3 had no political experience. They were Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower. who took office without political experience. However they had high-level military experience to make in part up for this..
Having said this, the experience G.W. Bush had as Governor of
Texas did not protect the US from major adversity.
Hillary Clinton at the age of 68 has enough experience. She served as Secretary of State during President’s Obama first term, in line with her agreement to do this for only 4 years. This demanding job left her somehow exhausted and from this perspective one would assume the job as US President is even more demanding.
Regardless her level of dedication, for sure at the age of 69 or 70 near the time of being potentially elected in her case, – the risk of being less stable on “the mountain top” is quite obvious.
Cognitive decline caught up with Ronald Reagan at the end of his worthy presidency.
Worrying, .. as lots of things happening in the world depend in part on “the US response”. Having no experience or being of retirement age is not the most suitable situation for a potential President-elect. Not to speak about the people who are dependent on significant executive decisions.
Wars by major misjudgements are not things only from the past.
There was e.g. hardly any American justification for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq..  After 9/11, the US led a coalition with other countries in a highly unsuccessful campaign to destroy al-Qaeda and other militant Islamist organizations.. Unsuccessful, as the more vital substructures are demolished on such a pathway, the more you open up the gates for terrorism..
ISIS massacres now in Syria are of the worst kind ever perhaps, with the sad thing at present that it seems to attract infectious support from all sorts of unexpected places. Even in western countries.
If the US response after 9/11 would have been different, the security risk for the US and the world would have been unalike. The migration problems in Europe most likely would not have happened.
Major decisions can have domino effects for both the better or the worst.
Hence quality leadership at the Executive Branch of the US Government being vital with good judgement and insight.
Robert F Kennedy after the Cuban Missile Crisis noted that at the time there were various opinions on the right approach, all from dedicated people. However, a different approach than was taken would have caused a nuclear holocaust, as the Russian missiles on Cuba were already loaded with nuclear weapons and the instruction was to fire them if the US would attack Cuba…
Wisdom, moderation, insight, courage and at some extend
compassion are important ingredients for the US Presidency, – besides experience and an ability keeping the right balance in the midst of different opinions within various groups of advisers and security meetings.
The use of power amidst a variety of leaders is a major issue in this world, and often comes at a cost of innocent lives. Whilst the war against ISIS needs to be radical and swift, – any other war needs to be considered on its justification as the world is already troubled enough, –  and side effects of any war are often with exceeding difficulty to control.
Any major error or decision to go to war may have domino effects, neither being possible to predict nor to control.
Whilst no restraint is possible anymore against ISIS, –  the most resourceful approach is required to eradicate this affliction.

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The agonizing lesson out of this is that any major war will bring total chaos in the affected areas.  It  is a warning as well for those nations exercising armed  field-tests with a view  how far they can go, – in testing as such the military muscle of others. It is pointless and dangerous as any major incident may escalate a range of events out of control.
Hence good judgement and experience are vial requirements for any US President, as the last needs to balance the military views or even ignore the military recommendations since the military recommendations are not always correct.
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A US President needs to have grace under pressure, both on domestic and foreign policy.
We are at risk of wars by major misjudgements. The road to voracity marks the scars of humanity far more than we think.. and there is no one else to blame than the nature of human race on its own. Hence the greater judgement to improve humanity and not making it
worse,  being important to stay at the heart of the US executive branch.
If countries are getting more inspired to get the records straight on maintaining peace and mutual cooperation, they are at the lesser risk to become deceased nations with citizens and  common civilisation largely extinct.
This is just part of the greater justice towards the next generation, which we have to carry over.. The generation which will inherit this planet. A generation with new leaders on a planet where we all share both the darkness and the light this may create, now and in the world to come..
We may hope that the US may get it right with the  2016 US President elections.

The Question Of Character And Courage


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“Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose”
–Tom Krause

–>>

…We thought about it and we spoke about it for many years already and It has gone through our minds, perhaps someway for ages.

Not for everybody but for some.

Often we did see the examples in day to day life and we admired them wishing it could be our own, – less often we did read about it, in the papers or in some books perhaps, – besides from what we were able to see on TV, in documentaries or on DVD‘s

Do you remember the question going through your heart and mind as well?

Did we fail at times that we were running low and progress was slow, did we fail at the times we forgot about it as things seemed well, and there was perhaps no reason to ask again, – or to raise again the issue of character and courage?

We like to be of good character or want to be seen as such. We like to have courage and faith but there are moments we fail in both courage and good character. Not that those incidents give a fair assessment on the total of our actions, – but simply the fact is that we are never always good in character, or always good in showing courage.

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Is this an “open door”?

Yes, – it is, as trying to get to the bottom of the question of character and courage a fair assessment is required.

We like to be true to ourselves as well, but not always are we true to our real self. As I said once, freedom and choice are indivisible and need to be earned and conquered each day,each week and each month, – and the sum of those efforts may work in favour of both our character and our courage. Both courage and character are indivisible as well, – like so many things are related or interrelated.

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Whilst the secret of happiness is perhaps freedom, using the gift of choice the greatest potential, – the secret of freedom is courage. The last implying being able to make the right choice under any circumstances.

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A matter of character as well.

For sure any of us will have our weak moments as long as we raise when the storm sets in, – even when the storm imposes a strain or challenge on our position or principles, – when it imposes a risk for ourselves, our future and other things perhaps. When the storm comes the leaves may fly away as long as the tree stands firm, and when the storm settles, like so many storms, – the tree may start a new season as no storm will leave nature unmoved. It’s part of life, – it depends how we are grounded, being firm in our convictions or weak in our principles.

There are many small actions of character and courage, often shown when “we feel like it” or were “in the frame of mind” to do so.

Those actions are neither dramatic or huge as the actions of those leaders who at the right frame of mind, at both the right place and the right time in history, were able to turn events in favour of greater change for humanity, – nor are they as dramatic as the courage of the last moments when we are facing death.

Speaking about the very last, – this crossed my mind when a young woman in her 40ties got cancer. Her family around her and her older sister were there when her time came. They had their memories, laughter and sadness, but when she died it could be seen that she went back to her own Creator. She took her death with peace as she knew she went back where we all came from, despite the agony and pain at times. When this happens in your family, losing loved ones at young age, – you realise there are only a few things in life which really matter. It’s a small thing only to have been able in life to enjoy the sun, a small thing to have lived light in the spring, – to have both loved and done when we “leave our footprints on the sands of time.” And even those footprints will be wiped away as time evolves and little will be remembered, unless we showed both great love and courage. In this it’s all about the courage to love , the courage to live and the courage to leave a legacy, – besides the courage to face death when the last is facing us.

So courage again, in general, is important, – but the courage to love as well, the compassion of doing the things being both right and good at every point of testing. The courage to live life in such away as if every day could be the last one. This takes besides having a mental alertness to have courage, both in the simple things but in particular at times of adversity, at times meeting the facts of life, at times when it is required to go straight at things without dodging them. It means as well we have to pick up or seize the vital issue in a complex matter, without getting wounded by running away from it.

Long before he became US President, John F Kennedy did write a book about “Profiles in Courage“. A study of men in the historical and political arena of the US where they stood firm on their principles at times of challenge in either the US Senate or the House of Representatives (apart from some other area’s), – at times when crucial decisions were due to be made and the balance between conscious and public opinion or “public favour” were tense, at times when both the public and colleagues were hostile.

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Courage is not about the past, it is about the future, – and therefore the examples of courage are so important.

So many examples!

The soldiers who save their mates at the battlefield at risk for their own lives, the people fighting for human rights and going into areas and questioning the areas of controversy at risk for their lives, the courage to stand up when it is required for either a good cause or in a speech when the real issues need to be challenged. But also the people who stand out to help those at times of disaster, – bushfires, massive flooding and earthquakes etc, – all often not without risk for own life.

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The “New Frontiers” of Kennedy were neither East nor West, neither South nor North, – but in his own time as US President where he fronted the facts as they were. At the level of President Obama we find an untroubled spirit who tends to look at things in the face as how he meet them, and know them for what they are, – dealing with them at the right time and place.

Courage, – the combination of bravery at times, integrity more at times, – based on principles. And life is the arena where we are tested on those virtues, each of us at times under excessive pressure, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation and constant in praying, – for those who pray within the silence of our Creator.

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This is one of the dimensions of courage.

As Bob Greene once said: “You need to know what life you want (as well as what life you don’t want), then you have to muster up the will and the drive to go after it.”

This is courage as well.

Courage is like a diamond, “unbreakable”, with a hardness and the sort of light dispensing, – allowing to show people the various dimension of the light it reflects. As a gemstone it is a highly valued commodity, but courage in human life is an essential commodity, – not as highly traded perhaps but being graded as the one and only virtue at each testing point in life’s endeavours.

As the Roman poet Horace once wrote more than 2000 years ago: “Tomorrow we take our course once more over the mighty seas.”

It takes courage to do this, it takes courage to be the housewife with 4 children and going every day over the mighty seas of friction and care for loved ones, when the income is low and the prices are high.

Courage is “grace under pressure” as Ernest Hemingway once said, but it takes courage to raise the sails if the winds of grace are blowing, – and they don’t blow every day. At times it is easier said than done when the oil of daily life is going through our troubled sea of thoughts, as life may face some of us this way, – preventing to keep our mind smooth and equable.

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Tough times can come when we are at our weakest point, and raising up to be the “unbreakable diamond” we want to be may arise at the worst possible times, as we may be discouraged as human beings as due to ongoing misery, – as due to staring at the water without being able to cross the sea.

Blessed are those who keep our hopes up in those circumstances.

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The circumstances when we can’t get into the mountain ranges as due to the desert where human feet can’t go, – as due to the ends of unknown seas when neither wind nor sails are the tools we normally use to find direction. Human life has those circumstances where there is neither boat nor sails, neither the morning breeze at a blue ocean nor the sight of a destiny.

Perhaps it was once there, but for some it has gone from their sight, – those being depressed under the most horrendous circumstances of both poverty and abuse, – deprived from education and diminished in self-destructive perceptions.

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That’s life, – a mixture of both tragedy and triumph, both with implications and expectations, both with dangers and failures all around.

But still, as once the 3rd  US President said: “One man with courage is a majority.”

From that point it is true that the courage of “one man standing up for an ideal” as Robert Kennedy once said, standing up to improve the lot of others, others who suffer the implications of injustice, – is an act of courage as well.

The courage of helping those with neither hope nor courage. The courage to send forth the implications of peace, against oppression and resistance. The courage to build up a current in which people can raise their tiny sails on restless boats, – to cross the barriers and waters they have to cross to build a life for their own, both with value and dignity.

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“The world is a lost place” as some would say, – however not for those who judge themselves on the contributions they have to make, and the goals they have to shape, – to improve the lot of others.

And then when we have to face death ourselves as part of an eternal cycle, – the question is not how much money we made. The question is whether we tried “to love our neighbour as ourselves” and whether we made a genuine effort to improve the lot of those who really needed this.

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Indeed, when we are going back from where we came, the only one Creator, – our time has gone, our attitude has gone, both our joy and abundance have gone, – but what stays in the twilight of memory, in the actions of people we had an impact on, is whether our private chart during our discovery on both the earth and the sea did contain the light of spring: that we have loved and done, that have done and loved.

This is what takes courage, – courage in sustained ways, but also the courage of the diamond with that single strong reflection which holds everything together, – by sharing it freely from our heart and spirit, in whatever life asks us to do in all those things we need to do.

This is a question of courage and character, a question of encouragement or discouragement, – the question or ask to be a sparkling light as we have the privilege of a free choice to be this way.

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This is what matters most, the question of character and courage, – the matter of grace under pressure and the ability to make the right distinctions when the heat is on, – all this with wisdom and perseverance.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

 

We dream of things that never were and say: “Why not?”


Kennedy giving his speech on Martin Luther Kin...

Kennedy giving his speech on Martin Luther King, Jr.. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” — Robert Frost

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned in order to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCrx_u3825g

“You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’” —George Bernard Shaw

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Being asked at some stage why this blog had the pretentious title; “We dream about things that never were and say: why not?”, – I refer back to one of the plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) “Back to Methuselah“, which actually is a series of five plays on its own.

In “Back to Methuselah” the above quote is used by The Serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The play was performed for the first time in New York City at the Garrick Theatre in 1922 and entailed for the time a most interesting science fiction fantasy which took three nights to do.

The former US Senator and assassinated Presidential Candidate Robert F Kennedy (1968) borrowed this quote and said it differently: “Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”

Kennedy and Martin Luther King were the people at the forefront for change in the United States during the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King was assassinated just a couple of months before Robert Kennedy was killed.

The movement for change came to a standstill, the Vietnam War escalated, – social issues to be developed in the US were put on hold. The last until the movement for change embodied in President Barack Obama evolved into a new episode in US history, at a time crucial for various developments in the world.

If the further movement for change on issues of human rights, on Peace and International Stability requires to get stronger, and if the quote in above fiction play (from Bernard Shaw) is being allowed to embody a stronger emphasis, then the “I” part in the quote needs to be changed in the “We” part.

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We are all strongly interdependent and if the “dream” in whatever entity resonates as a ripple effect across the generations, like the waves are coming and going but (!) always coming in terms of new energy, “We” may create a movement eventually which breaks the obstacles for Peace and stability, the obstacles to reduce poverty and keep the ingredients to protect this small planet against  climate changes and other disruptions of various nature.

We dream of things that never were and say: “Why not?”, reflects a shift in perception so to say.  A shift in thinking where new and better options are explored, new ways discovered. Where the creativity from the  right part of the  brain takes over the reactive activity from the  left side of the  brain, the last where those activities are not balanced in the actions of people. Actions which are not right and call for change. Actions which require passion and creative thought for peace and development.

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Where conscious activities take over the activities from the mind, as it is not the mind which dictates the outcome of the future, the first determines then the outcome of our common activities.

Obviously we can do this as people in breaking with the past where this is required and at times we do this by choice, – using this gift we all have.

At the end it is not “I” it is “We”!

 

There is no pretentious aim in the title of this blog, – as it is not about “me”, it is about “We” as a people, “We” as people, “We” embodied in the future with plenty of issues to be resolved. “We” who bear both the seeds of potential and defeat.

Defeat we had, potential we need.

Far too often we see the scary demeanour of empty confidence and coolness in this world.

People who both often speak too noisy with overbearing pride. People often who build their lives at a cost of others, –the last not rarely with intolerance and suppression. We see this in families, our communities, in organisations where people are still able to manage from inflated principles, – and finally we see this in our country and many countries around us.

Often in “the culture” as well of our political systems, – whether they are democratic or the opposite.

The more suppression there is the more violence it may create, with violence creating retaliation and retaliation creating more violence, – whether this is the violence in our demeanour or the violence of a society.

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Again and too often we see the sickness of not rarely whole societies, – with true respect for those who turn against it. And too often as well again we see the sickness of the souls of those people with the kind of sickness we are neither able to remove nor to heal.

What we can remove however is the hidden sickness of our own souls and shine as brightly as we can, – knowing that we don’t live in a perfect world. But the last thing which remains by free choice is trying to take away some part of the misery of humanity and this world, when it comes our way drop by drop and piece by piece, – either by coincidence or by choice.

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In the final analysis as human beings, – we have the last choice. And again this is not about “Me or I”, but it is about “We”, – where the sum of our individual activities do help to call the trumpet of our collective activities. The last in alignment with a massive human orchestra, directed perhaps by those conductors representing global efforts in favour of increasing international coöperation on the issues of our time.

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This part is not seeing things and standing by only, – and wondering “why?”. This is part of the active process of “Dreaming things that never were and say: Why not?” A creative and proactive activity, an ongoing movement for change where only “we” as a people can  make this change.

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In the broader sense of the word it is a team effort of gigantic proportions, which does not fail when one of the leaders would be assassinated, but where the group activity would make sure that the anti-movement would be eliminated by the proper law enforcement which would be the fruit of our collective endeavours, – and the movement would endure, regardless death, which surrounds us day by day.

Whilst the reality of this world may make many of us pessimistic, – the power of being hopeful and believing in the potential goodness of human nature and going beyond the realities of ignorance and violence, – provides us with the seeds to “Dream things which never were and say: “Why not?”

So let us go forth therefore unto keeping the human spirit alive, against all odds.

Let us go forth into the field where we are able to touch the lives of others who walk in “the dark”, whether they are rich or poor, – whether they represent countries in regression or under repression. As both in our communities we are able to offer the peace which helps people to move forward and inevitably among countries as well, – we are able to support those who need guidance. Not the support of weapons, which only give destruction and not the provision of hope, – but the support to inhabit this planet within the range of our human destiny where forces against its survival can be controlled by the rational end of the human spirit.

The last to be shared with the vigilant efforts within our families, communities and finally between countries, – where law enforcement on peace, human rights and the protection of our environment is not impossible.

Not even impossible in times where annihilation still is possible, – when people can’t do without this enforcement on peaceful efforts to settle disputes of any kind.

Therefore we need to continue to dream things that never were and continue to say, – as acting we must: “Why not?” Each time and in each generation those efforts need to be renewed. Each time and in each generation new identities need to be evolved to combat the danger of evil spirits and evil movements, – whether it is organised crime or human trafficking, whether it applies to countries who foo the world or people who represent terrorist activities.

Where non-violence needs to be the universal aim, – violence can’t be always prevented as ready we need to be to combat the risks of greater destructions.

Never ever we will live in a perfect world. Never ever will there be an enduring peace as there is always the risk of conflict. But “We” as a people need to dream things to create the antidote for the evils of humanity, – which is an active process starting at the base of our own conscience in all our day to day activities where we have to make choices, where we have to make choices to make things better or bitter.

Therefore we have to dream things which never were and say” Why not?” Not because the people have to do it for us, but we have to do it for the people, for those who deserve our care and compassion.

Again lastly (I touched base on this before), the last responsibility we have as people is to remove the hidden sickness of our own souls. Either the sickness from the past or the present, which manifest itself in small and often unnoticed deeds. It’s a process of personal growth which means we need to leave certain things behind us and replace this by better things today and shine as such as brightly as we can.

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After sustaining and surviving the most horrible experiments in 2nd WW concentration camps, –  it is as Victor Frankl once said about choice.

Indeed, at the end we have a free choice.

They can take away everything from us, and even at the last moment we have the final choice as how to respond or not respond at all anymore.

So neither death nor life needs to face us in the things we don’t understand, as long we play our own part on this little planet.

At the end nothing is terminal, everything is transitional, – even where death separates us from our duties here on earth.

But the duties continue in hopefully endless generations to come, each with its specific problems where man made problems need to be resolved.

And finally therefore the “We” part in saying we dream things that never were and say “Why not?” is so important, because the power of our collective dreams for a better world in action creates a ripple effect which can’t be stopped, – neither today nor tomorrow!

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/the-question-as-how-to-serve/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/rest-well-golden-eagle-in-memory-of-nelson-mandela/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/to-sweep-down-the-mightiest-walls-of-oppression-against-our-human-rights-and-create-the-biggest-movement-on-earth/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/peace/

Challenges of our times and generation

On the issue of human trafficking


http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=human+trafficking+photos&go=&qs=n&form=QBIR

English: Prostitutes in front of a gogo bar in...

English: Prostitutes in front of a gogo bar in Pattaya, Thailand. Original text: Like slaves on an auction block waiting to be selected, victims of human trafficking have to perform as they are told or risk being beaten. Sex buyers often claim they had no idea that most women and girls abused in prostitution are desperate to escape, or are there as a result of force, fraud, or coercion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

-Speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative past Tuesday, US President Barrack Obama took the remarkable step calling modern day slavery “barbaric” and “evil” as he spoke against trafficking and praised companies, organizations and people taking up the fight against the traffickers: “It ought to concern every person, because it’s a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at the social fabric”. “It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime”.”I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name  –  modern slavery.”

A 2011 paper published in The Human Rights Review  about Sex Trafficking, the trends, the challenges and limitations of International Law,  noted that since 2000 the number of sex-trafficking victims had risen while costs associated with trafficking had declined: “Coupled with the fact that trafficked sex slaves were/are the single most profitable type of slave, costing on average $1890,= each but generating $29000,= annually, leaded to stark predictions about the likely growth in commercial sex slavery in the future.” In 2008, over 12 million people were classified as “forced labourers, bonded labourers or sex-trafficking victims,” – as the study stated. Approximately 1.39 million of these people worked as commercial sex slaves, with women and girls comprising 98% (or 1.36 million) of this population. Trafficking as can be seen is a lucrative industry. It has been identified as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.  It is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable illegal industry in the world.
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President Obama signed legislation for domestic federal contracts, and tightening anti-trafficking rules for government contracts. He praised businesses in their industry, church groups for using their faith to tackle slavery and people trying to make sure the products they buy are slave-free. He further said: “Our fight against human trafficking is one of the great human rights issues of our time, and the United States will continue to lead it.” The President also spoke about modern-day slavery in the U.S., from child sex slaves to migrant workers who have their documents taken from them. He said: “Last year we charged a record number of predators with human trafficking… We are going to do more to spot it and stop it.”
What he said should apply to each country, should be the responsibility of each nation, – the rule of each State to make sure there is proper law enforcement to irradiate this crime against humanity, – to ease the burdens of those who are forced to live at the bottom of a total unacceptable social and moral spectrum. A spectrum where the law of criminals rules, where people get abused and tortured for life, if they survive.
 There are countries whose governments fully comply with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s (TVPA) minimum standards but there are many countries as well whose governments do not fully comply with the TVPA’s minimum standards. Some of them are making efforts to bring themselves into compliance with those standards. Others however do not comply with the bare minimum required standards and neither are they willing or making efforts to do so.

A White House news release recently mentioned: “More than 20 million men, women, and children worldwide are victims of human trafficking”. “Companies around the world are taking steps to end the potential for trafficked labour in their operations and supply chains, and President Obama is committed to protecting vulnerable people as government contractors and subcontractors perform vital services and manufacture goods procured by the United States.” “As the largest single purchaser of goods and services in the world, the U.S. Government has a responsibility to combat human trafficking at home and abroad, and to make sure American tax dollars do not contribute to this affront to human dignity.”

Why is this single issue so important?
This single issue represents at large the standard of any morality in any country, and failing to comply with the protection of human rights as such in this area is of predictive value as how the social & political standards of counties do evolve, – some of them simply ignoring and blind folded by the gross injustice affecting vulnerable people. Not taking any action against it is similar as allowing the world to become a worse place where cruelties within nations themselves are interlinked with the level of increasing moral decay of institutions where criminals have increasing free play. It is very clear which countries are the worst culprits in allowing this injustice spreading.
In 2009 it proved that seven countries at least demonstrated the highest possible performance in effective policies for the most significant dimensions of protection, even though those countries had problems on this issue as well. At least they did something. These countries were Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Sweden and the US. The second best performing group included France, Norway, South Korea, Croatia, Canada, Austria, Slovenia and Nigeria. The worst performing country in 2009 was North Korea, receiving the lowest score. The global extent of the problem is still horrendous. Thousands of children from Asia, Europe, North America and South America are sold into the global sex trade every year. Often they are kidnapped or orphaned, and sometimes they are actually sold by their own families, – a problem still tolerated by many countries all over the world.
Whilst there is still a  lack of understanding of human trafficking issues, poor identification of victims and deficient resources for the key pillars of anti-trafficking, besides identification, protection, prosecution and prevention, – the good thing is that the current US President is voicing his opinion on the matter. It’s an international dilemma and it deserves international attention.
The ignorance of the violent past is inadequate for the even more stormy future if little is going to change on this important aspect of human rights. Whilst ignorance is able to multiply on thousand occasions ,violence against human rights is able to multiply on a million of occasions The occasion is piled high with difficulty like we see amidst a different scenario in Syria, and we must rise with the  occasion. We can’t afford to turn a blind eye against gross inhumanity across the globe without the last and final implication that at some stage we will be ourselves the victim of similar gross inhumanity, as where we allow others to fall we will degrade ourselves as well. People not being educated on the moral issues of our times are lost people, like a child uneducated is a child lost.
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Progress in our general humanity is neither automatic nor can it be escaped, however the road towards increasing justice is as old as Methuselah and requires struggle and suffering, besides the  tiredness efforts and passionate concern of dedicated people who feel compassion, in  which all ethics must take root. Compassion only can meet its full breadth and depth if  it embraces all living people at the disadvantaged level of the human spectrum and  the fight against human trafficking is one of the corner stones of  respecting    human rights, – and international law enforcement on this issue should be at the corner of our international efforts as it is both right and a reflection of human justice.
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Abolishing of human trafficking is at the heart of global civilisation as it will decide our approach on other issues affecting human rights, – both here and around the world!
Human activities during war-time may lead to war crimes against humanity.
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From my perception human trafficking is a crime against humanity and needs to be dealt with accordingly, without mercy for those who commit them.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

 

Australia’s role in the Asia – Pacific Region


English: Paul Keating in 2007 - crop.

English: Paul Keating in 2007 – crop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“In  my  time  I  have  seen  truth  that  was  anything  under  the  sun  but  just,  and  I  have  seen  justice  using  tools  and  instruments  I  wouldn’t  want  to  touch  with  a  ten-foot  fence  rail”      – William  Faulkner  (Knight’s Gambit 1949)

Justice, balance of power and peace

 

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating said the other day that China must be welcomed into the world as a shared partner and a vital economic power, not a military or political challenge to be contained. He made a speech in November 2004 in Beijing in which he stated that he believed that China would become an economic competitor of the United States, but not a strategic competitor, and its military growth was unlikely to be about force projection.

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Keating still thinks “the rise of China is one of the great events of all economic and human history and I think this will be overwhelmingly a positive thing for the region and the world”.

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Whilst the White House and the Pentagon have different views, Australia seems now verbally part of the US containment policy as part of a well prepared Presidential visit to Australia.
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The US perception is that the model from China based on communism and the ruling of a committee is doomed to fail and President Obama is speaking about this in the Australian Parliament. President Obama says: “With our new focus on this region …. We’re here to stay. … History’s on the side of the free. … By upholding core principles, we partner with democracies.”
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The speech is basically saying that the United States is back and some would say we can’t help  thinking that the commentary was somehow about the old Soviet Union.
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It should be clear that China is not the old Soviet Union and trying to contain China with new military alliances could well prove to be an error of judgement. This speech should have been held in Washington and not in the Australian Parliament.
 
Like the US needs space and being ready to defend it, China is entitled on space as well as long as the occupation of this space is not based on domination. China proves already in Africa to increase space and to make sure there is a supply of recourses for China, but all this is based on sound economic principles and a win win situation for countries being involved. As long it continues this way other countries have the benefit of China s as well, which is positive.
 
Containment of China unprovoked could lead to conflict. China need to be able to emerge, not as a dominating power but as a power contributing to both its own welfare and the welfare of other nations. Similar the US needs to play a role in the Asia-Pacific area, but based on the same principles and in concert with other powers, to watch and maintain stability and coöperation in this vital area.
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The US position should not be based on inflated cold war sentiments being dominant some decades ago, within their stance against Communism in the former Soviet Union.
 
Let’s face it, apart from human rights issues which will be addressed in China for the better in the future, China never exposed real threat in foreign policy and their issues with the Chinese Sea are not much different from what the US feel as their entitlements close to their borders. Like the US, China is not free from injustice but on foreign policy “let’s not sweat the small stuff” as was once reflected in an interesting booklet, and let us “seek to understand first”.
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The world and the US are justified concerned about the movements from both Iran and North Korea and allowing those countries getting away with nuclear military expansion would be the same mistake as was allowing Germany to rearm itself after the 1st world war. In a broader sense the US itself after the second world war has been involved in various conflicts until recently where the legitimate question could be raised why matters were not dealt with differently as those conflicts did cost millions of lives, – all for some part due to CIA and Pentagon driven policy. The freedom in the US goes that far that when a US President is not alignment with Pentagon and/or CIA policy he may be assassinated like happened with President John F Kennedy in November 1963. The result was a dramatic escalation of US military involvement in Vietnam at a cost of millions of lives and like Australia followed US footsteps in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it followed US footsteps in Vietnam without ever realising that those choices in essence were ill contemplated, based on dependence and not interdependence.
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The Pentagon at the time of former President G.W.Bush has been working on a new China war plan with the most advanced weapons being ready for use in case of conflict. The US announced only this week the creation of “the Air Sea Battle Office”, which is precisely designed how to work out how to counteract China’s growing missile dominance, its dominance in the region with fighter aircraft, new versions of fighter aircraft and warships.
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Some realism is right. Whilst not being in favour for any arms race, any country is running a defence policy. The US is doing the same. What we see evolving requires the need to prevent domination of any country, the Pentagon policies included. Hence we need a region accommodating China without building a military structure around it. The US would not like it when other countries would do this at the disadvantage of the US. China likewise does not like this at the disadvantage of China. Australia again without much realistic consideration is again following the footsteps of the US-based on dependence. “Australia’s dependence on a major power lies deep in our national psyche” said once.
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Within context countries like Iran and North Korea impose a far greater danger than China and trying to contain China will only improve the chance on conflict among superpowers on those potential dangerous nations,- which is simply stupidity in the worst possible way. China has enormous leverage on those countries and seeking support and coöperation from China as an ally and not a country requiring to be contained in the dogmatic views of the Pentagon, would make the world a safer place.
If we look at history we may hope that any US President is fully in charge of the Pentagon and it’s generals and President Obama’s message in the Australian Parliament is considerably coated with Pentagon policy, brilliantly delivered however but to be watched carefully on the implications for the region. Australia did swallow the rhetoric against China without taking the long-term view.The point is that there is already the 7th US fleet in the Pacific with bases in Okinawa and Guam, but the new message is that the US is getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan and that they are coming here. There are many Republicans in the US talking about “knocking China over” and whilst President Obama is far more moderate he represents a country showing extreme dynamics. US Congress is a reflection of at times dysfunctional Republican behaviour and taking the long view I don’t think Australia should be dragged into policies of the Pentagon which were not always that fruitful in the past. On foreign policy matters we can’t complain about China till so far where as US foreign policy could have been dealt with clearly differently on various occasions. There was once a Pacific war and we don’t need a new one! China is Australia’s biggest trading partner and China reflects an emerging power with no evidence of desiring to dominate the world as they know history. They represent a country where despite human rights issues some one and a half billion of people have been dragged out of poverty and by no means should this country be compared with the former USSR. Obviously nothing is fool-proof in history but this applies to the US as well and whilst Australia is an important ally of the US, good intentions in this area are always subject to proof and if Obama’s rhetoric will be followed by strongly driven Pentagon policies in the Asian Pacific region we may need to be perhaps on our guard of the US as well because an increase of US military activity in history was not rarely followed by US inflicted war down the line, – at times.
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Pentagon and CIA policies are stronger than US Presidents at times, even in the US as a democracy. Whilst President Johnson could not coop anymore with his own inflicted escalation of the Vietnam war, he resigned in 1968. The most succesful Presidential candidate opposing the Vietnam war (Robert Kennedy) was assassinated by the military wing of the Pentagon (the CIA)  and this provided a more Pentagon friendly candidate, Richard Nixon, the chance to be elected US President and continue Pentagon driven policy.
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The reflections of Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd on the recent 7.30 News report were more of a hardline response to China and for a person with such a claimed insight knowledge of China this was not a demonstration of wise and insightful diplomacy as Australia as a middle power did change position after Obama’s visit, as it would seem.
 
As a middle power Australia should be more independent in it’s role in the Pacific as the “core values” of the US did not always seem what it could and should have been, and foreign policy of China till so far did show greater stability than what the US did if we count the wars over the last decades and the millions of deaths in military conflict. Democracy can be the core value but history did prove that democracy was neither perfect nor always carried by people who had high standards of integrity and a broader view.
 
Kevin Rudd said: “We’re not going to have any national security policy dictated by any other external power.” However the exemption seems the US and the Pentagon. Kevin Rudd represents Australian policy when he later says: “That’s a sovereign matter for Australia. We don’t seek to dictate what the Chinese about their national security policy.”
Australia would be wise not to allow their own national security to be dictated by either the US or China. The difference is that China till so far made no efforts to instruct Australia on issues of national security but the US did.
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For the region applies that Australia as a middle power needs to play in concert with other powers and not co creating an alliance to contain a super power like China, which neither provoked Australia in any way nor provoked any other country in any significant way.

This means that it is in Australia’s interest to have both productive and friendly relations with the US and China, providing leverage and an example in better communication when those 2 super powers may get carried away with different opinions.

Whilst safe with President Obama, the US under some Republican Presidents was not always the country defending the core values of both Democracy and human rights. It would seem that there are too many ideas what the core values of a democracy should be. The majority vote at a particular time in history is not always the right choice and does not always show the right action as being clearly demonstrated in US Congress.

The development of Australia as a great middle power continuing to play the role being required, as happened in the 1980s and ’90s did include foreign policy like APEC and it’s leaders’ meeting, the ASEAN regional forum, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Canberra Commission for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the Cairns Group etc. This should not be thrown away by a Pentagon dominated foreign policy in Australia.

Neither that we have foresight in how power will evolve in the United States Government in the years lying ahead, nor do we have foresight how power will evolve in China, but as a great middle power Australia has an obligation to maintain a pleasant and peaceful co-existence with surrounding states and a close military alliance with the US to contain China whilst not being provoked as a nation will not pay any dividend to Australia and is compromising the role Australia could play as a middle power, and as such the foreign policy of Australia at present (if not revised) could prove to be a floored one by principle and on principle with little insight in historical dynamics.

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The policy of containment of China at this stage in history is wrong and without proper base, guided actually by US rhetoric and Australia should have known better. Former US Vice President Al Gore did describe in his book “The Assault On Reason” the US dynamics when George W Bush ordered forces to invade Iraq, the damage being done to the US as a democracy as Bush played the public with a fear of terrorism campaign whilst the US Senate stand mute then, like it stayed mute on various other occasions including political assassinations.

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Australia should not allow “assault on reason” within the Asia-Pacific area and whilst the dynamics in Australian Parliament may show at times doubt on reason both in terms of style and quality, as a country we need to be stronger than this.

The answer to this problem is that what could have been done differently yesterday can be corrected tomorrow and only fools don’t change their mind in the course of history. New beginnings depend on endings and to make them in the right way the right time and for the right reason!

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

The Asia – Pacific Challenge


http://cdn.theguardian.tv/brightcove/2012/3/26/120326ObamaHu-16×9.mp4

“Tact is the ability to describe others as they see
themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln 
Speaking about  an increasing shift in US troops from the Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan to the Asia-Pacific region.
It would seem that the 21st century will be America’s Pacific century with promoting trade and economic ties, but also enhancing security of sea lanes for trade and regional stability with increasing capacity of deterring provocations. The response however to unavoidable provocations is as important as the provocations themselves and in the response lies the road as how to balance the world into the right direction and avoid war, – the last being the most significant obligation of civilization.

I guess this is the crux of President Obama’s visit to some countries in the Pacific, however the last statement not as clearly expressed as Kennedy did on June 10th 1963 during his “Peace Speech” for the American University, – where he reached beyond the cold war sentiments of his time and of the US establishment in those years

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The response to either errors or provocations is a responsibility of both superpowers and the Pacific might be an area of provocation and confrontation if both superpowers are not careful in their approach.

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We may understand the concerns from China about the “sudden” shift of US foreign policy and renewed interest in the Pacific. The US considers itself a key player in the Pacific as well, with a focus on productive and fruitful economic relationships, – however prepared to defend security interest of both the US and allies if provoked. The last is not new, but signifying a renewed affirmation following perceived provocations in the Chinese Sea by China, – creating a sense of discomfort at the Pentagon. However not being discussed face to face with the Chinese leadership and still pending, or only briefly discussed in the last couple of days.

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Obama made clear that the military expansion is a top priority whilst tailing down US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. “As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia-Pacific a top priority,” Obama said. “As a result, reductions in U.S. defence spending will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia-Pacific.”


This is not particular a laid back and wait and see policy but a clear message to friends and potential opponents, a message to China as well. However balancing the world into the right direction and avoid war is still the most significant obligation of civilization. US President John F Kennedy in his “Peace Speech” for the American University on June 10th 1963, made this more clear to the world than President Obama ever did.

 

No reason for China to worry if their intentions are peaceful on the long-term without wish to dominate, but the Pacific area is a concern as there are more players causing potential conflict, – last but not least North Korea as well. The mixture of support treaties are quite complex and both India and the US are working towards more coöperation to counteract concerns about China. China has both close connections with North Korea and a business interest in Iran. Hence the increasing complexity of the Pacific scenario, with more military deals in the make.

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“Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in this region,” Obama told the Australian Parliament. “The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.” There will be an agreement with Australia which will enhance the military coöperation between the 2 countries. While U.S. officials cited the need to respond to regional natural disasters as a reason for the agreement, concern over China’s military expansion is widely acknowledged as the driving factor. The United States has based some of its most advanced weapons in the Pacific, including squadrons of F-22 fighters and C-17 transport planes, – equipment suitable for cyber – and electronic warfare.

It can’t be denied that this new element of strategic power being implemented in the region has been received with mixed observations in China and Obama failed in his diplomacy to visit China at the same time. Nelson Mandela (most likely!) would have done this, because it is most important not to create misunderstandings in the communication with the major superpowers as it is vital to have close and constructive working relations with China.

 

Whilst this is perhaps not a choice by principle by the Pentagon, this should be a choice by principle of the US President after various shortcomings in US foreign policy and inflicted war’s under his predecessors.

In April 2007 Obama said about China: “China is rising and it’s not going away. They’re neither our enemy nor our friend. They’re competitor’s.”  Meanwhile the Chines government owns many hundreds of billions of dollars of US Treasury bills, assisting to fund America’s budget and trade deficits. In a speech to the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in September 1982, Deng Xiaoping said: “No foreign country can expect China to be its vassal, nor can it expect China to accept anything harmful to China’s interests”.

 

This is still the situation, even though this was said in 1982. It is for China important that there is no interference from outside with internal dynamics, for sure not in the public domain with people being opinionated out of proportions perhaps.

My suggested approach would have been different to China, and the most significant notation I missed in any of the speeches was something along the lines  like this:

“To the Chinese, our overseas neighbours, I would like to say this. – Whilst being different by tradition and history, both our countries have much in common through our mutual interest and endeavours  towards an enduring peace and stability in this region, the last so important for both economic growth and our people. Whilst history often shows evidence of conflict, let’s embrace the opportunity walking the road to a persistent peace, knowing that every man-made problem can be discussed, – preferably before an issue gets a problem. The Chinese have a culture rich in history and far older than ours and we respect this culture, though we have differences in the way we perceive eg human rights and fair trading… The people of China living across the borders of this at one time most advanced civilization on earth live both in fear and hope,  both for the future of their country and the right balance of requiring natural recourses and increasing consumer demand. Likewise, the people of our country sustaining the agony of economic recession and various war’s do live both in fear and hope as well. The people of both China, the US and other countries  have in common that they all want to earn a living -to live- and look after their families and loved ones. They have in common that they want to learn in live to create meaning for the future and we all have problems with balancing resources and consumer demand, with at this stage in the US a demand for intensified job creation and increased productivity. The people’s of both our countries and all countries are far more important than our government’s today, and for the sake of humanity let’s never give up on peace, – a concept so often ignored but at the same time so important… Knowing that our own history as well has not always been perfect perhaps, errors are made in other countries as well,-  and let’s try to resolve our differences for the sake of an enduring stability in this area, –  like differences at other places in the world have been resolved in a good spirit of hope. We owe this to our people, to your people, – knowing that war can’t be an answer anymore to conflict, for certain not in conflict between superpowers. It’s pointless to prepare for the last as preparing for the last is preparing for self-destruction. The more we put realistically into our efforts for mutual understanding and agreement on the major issues and challenges , caused at times by countries less responsible perhaps by seeking military adventure and domination , – the more we are able to offer to this world. If we are able to agree on this concept, we have already the blessing of the children of this generation who have to build the future after we have gone. We have the blessing of old Chinese wisdom then as well. So let us work together and live in peace; – not only for the sake of the countries in this Asia-Pacific region but for the countries who are dependent on stability at this part of the world.”

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I guess such a message to the Chinese would have been well received, and would have been able to reduce both reservations and distrust. It is part of the language to be used, language being important to build bridges and avoid the seeds of conflict. It is the intention so often reflected in old Chinese wisdom, not always valued perhaps by past leaders, – like the wisdom of Lincoln or Kennedy often seemed to have been forgotten by some of the US President’s in later US history. Both cultures have imperfections, but responding to each other with wisdom and restraint will avoid situations like those e.g. happened in Vietnam, where millions of people died in conflict. A conflict later on by historian’s considered as a lack of judgement, even by participants of US Administrations at the time, – regretfully in retrospect many years later.

Within the current strategic decision-making, prepared at least for two years already within the US military establishment and pushed from a different angle as well by former Australian PM Kevin Rudd, – the US President’s visit to Australia has been well prepared and his speeches were well-timed, more as tactics of the US military establishment than a leadership acknowledgement how important it is to keep world peace.

We need to realise that in the US President’s do come and go and whilst US President Obama might be well able to make the right choices to support peace, his change of military tactic is causing serious digestion issues in China, – and the concerns reflected by Indonesia are realistic.

We don’t need a new cold war scenario, the times are too dangerous and too unpredictable in case of any miscalculation. China may have as much distrust in the US as the US has in China and Australia is following  closely in the footsteps of the US, – footsteps not always been that fortunate in the past. Any new Republican (?tea party) President might change the nature and intend of an agreement as the Pentagon sees fit, based on CIA information not always being complete. The reality proves that both China and the US will avoid at all cost a war on their own soil and as proved in the past, all US war’s were fought outside their borders, – often far away.

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President Obama’s Australian visit follows last weekend’s 19-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which highlighted the need for new measures supporting job growth in the US. Needless to say succesful. During the Hawaiian summit, Obama emphasised the importance of the Pacific being an area of global economic security, and he requested China to do more to help strengthen the world economy with fair trade and sticking to international rules. However he did not reach out far enough to ease tensions.

Again, – to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world (as the Greeks) wrote so long ago, requires a shift in modern thinking where traditional thinking does include the option of excessive and more brutal force than ever before, against the will and the interest of the majority of people. This type of shift in thinking and perception is simply progress in the way we see the world and change is the motivator of this progress in non violent change for the better, and looking for mutual stability in an area of potential tension. However this type of change has enemies not to be underestimated. Those enemies  again are usually the extremists being extreme in their intolerance and in their accusations. It is paramount to give them no grounded base for their accusations. Those enemies can be found in both the US military force and the Chinese military force (actually in any military force), and as leaders of major super powers it would be better to learn the lessons from some predecessors. The Cold War between the US and Russia (USSR at the time) ended because of the intervention of leaders reaching out eventually, beyond the military background powers. The personal approach is vital to end and prevent conflict and Obama’s mission being applauded widely in Australia was more personal and warm here than what it could have been in China.

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Inclusive leadership which breaks the ice in economic endeavours, emphasising what we have in common as a people (despite differences), is more helpful than straight on showing strength by increasing miliary capacity and creating alliances within the domain of potential force. It could have been a second step if all communication failed. The Chinese might be far more rigid in dynamics of government, but this does not take away that their culture endured over time and sustained over time and will change over time through different principles than both being familiar in the US and Australia. Mutual respect and friendship facilitates a mutual learning experience with positive outcomes for those countries realising the importance of this and refusing to repeat cold war dynamics as we had in the past.

The wisdom of Chinese leaders is perhaps not going that far that they realise it would be wise to help domestic reforms in the direction of a democracy, – however despite shortcomings in human rights their intend is both stability at home and stability within the domain of economic growth, recognising that change is inevitable as generations and values do change. The Chinese leadership however wants to be in control of this change as uncontrolled change may have undesired side effects. At the end of the day this is up to the Chinese and the dynamics of their society.

There is a rule in international diplomacy and Nelson Mandela did stick to this rule in South Africa to overcome differences. The rule is to visit your potential opponent and sort matters out before they blow out of proportions. The incidents in the Chinese Sea did give the US an excuse to increase their military presence without resolving the issue straight on with the Chinese leadership. It seems a move which could have been dealt with differently and the concerns of Indonesia about potential escalation are justified.

Let’s put it this way: communication is the cornerstone of international diplomacy at the level between the US and China, and where one party fails, the other party does not need to take a robust example of increasing (quietly) a very significant military presence which in US history often led to war far outside their borders. There is something to say at times in favour for face to face discussion and delaying a response allowing the other party to correct itself. US Generals (eg Air Force Maj.Gen. Michael Keltz) did only add to the military mission with a reflection on the nature of the most advanced weapons being around (shortly) in the Pacific.

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Whilst the US budget perhaps does not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific, a military confrontation will come at the cost of the Asia Pacific. Where indeed the Chinese made apparently new claims on the Chinese Sea, the American’s traditionally different communicator’s failed to discuss this straight on face to face with the Chinese leadership and President Obama reflected a response both in line with US military strategy and the importance of increasing jobs and economic activity at home in the US. It’s a smart move before the US Presidential elections in 2012 and perhaps this move is required to help his re-election in the interest of the free world, as long as he keeps the bigger picture in mind.

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Democracy is not always perfect, neither is the way for an enduring and lasting peace. However it is better to have an imperfect peace rather than a devastating war at a cost not measurable anymore in human dimensions.

For this reason “The Indian talking stick” should be right at the centre of the Asia – Pacific relations, as only this will offer creatively better scenario’s based on “win – win”, as Stephen Covey would say. It means listening talking and reasoning along the line of acceptable alternatives for all parties being involved.

This is the only way forward.

It requires a shift in strategy and thought process.

It is the only way forward as we are living on the edge of the sword of Damocles, – this century with both such a potential dangerous future and outcome, but also this century with the opportunity to make the right choices the avoid the most dangerous dynamics on earth.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

 

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

The Art of Leadership and Lessons from the Past – Edward M. Kennedy


Edward Moore Kennedy

Edward Moore Kennedy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Leadership lessons  (Edward M. Kennedy)

 
“Ted Kennedy’s life is a reminder that much can be achieved by late bloomers; that you don’t have to have your career all figured out by the time you’re   
   25, 35, or even over 45.”
             – Sarah Green in a post on Harvard Business Publishing.

His life was marked by tragedy and somehow recklessness perhaps in his early years, but change within himself  later in life  made him become one of the greatest Senators in US history. He went through personal lessons of resilience and agonising redemption, realising that he had to face his own shortcomings., – which he did.

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We have to make sometimes very personal choices in life and whatever triggered his change,  he started to reshape his life in his late 50’s making him from the age of 59 until his death a most fascinating leader – showing that leadership starts with self-control and responsible decisions. However not only this.  If we are fortunate enough in life to find someone who loves us for what we are,  we may be able to multiply affection and love by giving of what we once received.

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Good leaders are just human beings as well, the last at times forgotten by the public and media.

The assassination of his 2 older brothers contributed to his first years of struggle and (hidden) heartbreak, – “Teddy” now representing his  “legendary” family following events in 1968.  However he really found a new voice whilst standing up for those not too well off in American society, showing to be a key figure amidst liberal principles.

Edward Moore Kennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) was the Democratic US  Senator for Massachusetts, serving almost 47 years. He was the second most senior US Senator when he died and the third or fourth longest-serving member of this college, being perhaps one of the most positive and powerful legislator’s in American history.

 

He was the last surviving son of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Sr; the youngest brother of President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy (both assassinated in public service)  and Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the last being killed in action in World War II; and the father of Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. After the assassination of his brother John an Robert he was for many years the most important living member of  the Kennedy family.

Kennedy’s New York Times obituary described him: “He was a Rabelaisian figure in the Senate and in life, instantly recognizable by his shock of white hair, his florid, oversize face, his booming Boston brogue, his powerful but pained stride. He was a celebrity, sometimes a self-parody, a hearty friend, an implacable foe, a man of large faith and large flaws, a melancholy character who persevered, drank deeply and sang loudly. He was a Kennedy.”

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Following his failed presidential bid, Kennedy became one of the most influential members of the Democratic Party, and was later in the 1990’s called a “Democratic icon”as well as “The Lion of the Senate“.  Kennedy and his Senate staff wrote more than 2000 bills and more than 300 were enacted into law. Kennedy supported another 550 bills  becoming  law after 1973. Kennedy was most effective in dealing with Republican senators and administrations, sometimes even at the irritation of some Democrats. During the G.W. Bush administration, almost every bipartisan bill being signed had significant involvement from Kennedy. A late 2000s survey of Republican senators ranked Kennedy first among Democrats in bipartisanship, which should be an example for the Republicans (in 2011). Kennedy was committed to  the principle “never let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” and would agree to pass legislation he viewed as incomplete or imperfect with the goal of improving it down the road. Somehow different we see this with President Barack Obama as well. As long as it works for the better progress, often a good compromise is required. In April 2006, Kennedy was selected by Time as one of “America’s 10 Best Senators”; the magazine discussed that he had “amassed a titanic record of legislation affecting the lives of almost every man, woman and child in the country” and that “by the late 1990s, the liberal icon had become such a prodigious cross-aisle dealer that Republican leaders began pressuring party colleagues not to sponsor bills with him”.Even the Republican presidential nominee John McCain said in May 2008: …”[Kennedy] is a legendary lawmaker and I have the highest respect for him. When we have worked together, he has been a skillful, fair and generous partner.” At the time of Kennedy’s death, sociologist and Nation board member Norman Birnbaum wrote that Kennedy had come to be viewed as the “voice” and “conscience” of progressive America ( American progressivism). He worked on major issues of our time including civil rights, healthcare, the war in Vietnam, Watergate, and the quest for peace in Northern Ireland.

Kennedy’s passion was at times most powerful and contagious.  Besides this he was able to disagree on issues without making it personal. He was therefore greatly admired across the political spectrum.

What can we learn from him in terms of leadership, – without subdividing the issues too much?

1. “Stick- to – itiveness” and give it the very best performance.

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Whilst his performance at the start of his political career was a learning curve and subject for improvement he won his Senate seat for the first time during the Presidency of his brother, Jack Kennedy. He was perhaps in a fortunate position but for certain was he not “a celebrity Senator”.  He proved this after each re-election, especially when he began performing for his constituents and collaborating with his colleagues.

He had an unwavering tenacity and perseverance which did include in a steady pace mastering the details, studying and learning amidst changing issues.Kennedy rolled up his sleeves and earned his place, even through rough and threatening times. He continued planning , timing and cultivating a degree of patience. The reward for his “stick-to-itiveness” was that he knew he stayed the course by following “True Compass”

When Mitt Romney challenged Kennedy for his Senate seat in 1994, the crucial moment of their debate — which probably made  Kennedy win the re-election — involved Kennedy pressing Romney for the specifics on his health care plan, with Romney forced to  admit that he hadn’t worked out all the details. “Well that’s what you have to do with legislation,” the Senator replied. Kennedy knew the job. His career rewards followed from his service and perseverance to master the details to be required for progressive change.

Ted Kennedy faced various public crises which could have destroyed him, yet he proved to be resilient and able to learn.  He restored confidence in his leadership. The still-mysterious incident at Chappaquiddick where a young woman drowned nearly ended his career. Whilst showing at that particular time no courage and ducking accountability he bounced back by redoubling his efforts to do his job well. Even fumbling during an important interview during his bid for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1980, he recovered by applying more energy and passion to his work in the Senate.  He was not perfect but he learned from his mistakes and became a better human being, persistent and committed as he was.  Besides this he never claimed victory for himself but was generously able to share credit

2.Find a purpose recognised by yourself as a very strong one.

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Kennedy reached a stage of mind  to feel that his live belonged to the community and his newly found values did suspend part of his ego. He rejoiced in burning up for the values he stood for before handing the responsibility for his course to the next generation. Ted Kennedy believed in public service as the best profession and in government to help all citizens getting their chance for a better quality of life. Once he found his voice and his core mission after overcoming some misery from the past his position and “Compass” were clear and often he spoke for the people who could not speak for themselves.  The goals were so important that he was willing to work with political opponents in the Senate to reach agreement on measures that served the people.He supported President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind legislation” for school reform.  The cause of children less privileged was that important to him that he rather would compromise and get a bit done whilst the alternative was no action at all. He took action by calling on higher principles which did resonate with principle centred members of the other party. He proved that his ability to compromise for a better outcome was a strength rather a weakness, the last based on ongoing efforts to build strong relations across the political spectrum. With at times an emotional appeal for what he thought to be right he was able to get the more intellectual minded on board from the other party. His emotional bank account on the Senate floor had a large surplus, he was well liked and well trusted on his views.


3.Never forget family & friends.

The hard-working Ted Kennedy was at heart a family man. After the assassination of his brothers he was the stronghold and the father for many amidst the larger Kennedy family, keeping people together, encouraging close to lost children, playing touch-football at the family compound in Hyannis Port and arranging  family outings to historic sites,-  apart from sailing away from the pier in Hyannis Port through the waters of Nantucket at the Cape. In spirit his late brother President John F Kennedy and Robert F Kennedy were always close to him and the love for his extended family guided him through tough times in his life. He was a role model for some of the Kennedy children and helped them with their own belief system and the power of the words: “I can” and “I will”.

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He did neither always agree with family nor friends but he was able to agree to disagree without losing his affection or staying amicable. Whilst being able to continue to be friendly and loving he was able to work together with a range of people, based on trust. He understood the power of being considerate  and friendly.

In summary:

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Did Ted Kennedy add value to life? Yes he did! He stood for the people who had no voice, trying through legislation to improve the living conditions of fellow citizens for many in his country. He made no major paradigm shift as eg Gandhi did with the perception of “non violence ” (under all circumstances). However Teddy Kennedy tried to mobilise the available recourses in the US Senate to help change at various levels. He stood by his principles but was prepared to listen and seek compromise for the better. He was a trustworthy icon in the US Senate working with an excellent team supporting him to work the required changes for the better. He was not free of mistakes and made a few but made good on them by getting a better person and sticking to his compass, which always directed him back to the original course of action. He had a mission, imagination and was both persistent and committed to give it the best performance, – at some stage not for his ego anymore but for the benefit of others. He did own up to his mistakes and learnt from them with a faith to allow eventually the higher power in himself taking over.

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With his belief system Involving the will of giving and with his own trials and errors in life, he showed us: “Together we can, together we will!”

And that’s enough, –  good enough!

Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

 

Beyond 9/11 memorial services 2011


Ten years on ... President Barack Obama embraces a victim's relative as he visits the north pool of the World Trade Center site with first lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.
Ten years on … President Barack Obama embraces a victim’s relative as he visits the north pool of the World Trade Center site with first lady Michelle Obama, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush. Photo: Reuters—————-
“Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose – and you allow him to make war at pleasure.”
Abraham Lincoln
“I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.”    — Leo Buscaglia.

—–>It came with bitterest agony, because it took them unaware!

Many organizations held really well deserved memorial services and other events for the 10th anniversary of these attacks, – now more than 10 years ago, and they were all very respectful for both the families of the victims, – for those who died in vain.

Personally I was most impressed, not only because of the service but also the way matters being dealt with by the many involved, including President Obama himself. On September 11th 2011 at Zuccotti park President Obama raised above the crimes from the past, above the divisions,  looking at it in the positive in a spirit of hope and doing this together with former President G. W. Bush.
It was the citation of Psalm 46 during his speech in New York City that seemed to make an impression, whilst President Bush referred to a quotation of President Lincoln. The biblical passage that began was: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Apparently Obama chose this passage believing it was particularly right to use — to read scripture this particular last Sunday. He did chose a passage that tells of persevering through difficult challenges and emerging from those challenges stronger. He used this psalm as well during the Tucson memorial speech. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble”. Therefore as the passage indicates: we will not fear, even though the earth could be moved, even though the mountains may fall into the sea.  It indicates God is in the midst of this. God shall help when morning dawns. The nations being raged, the kingdoms being moved. The God of Jacob is our refuge. He makes wars to stop to the end of the earth….
This was the message, – well-chosen!
All this said we have a duty of justice and even though 9/11 is history many questions did remain unanswered. The 9/11 Commission chaired by former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean started late 2002 to prepare an account of the conditions & circumstances surrounding the attacks. On July 22, 2004, the 9/11 Commission issued the 9/11 Commission Report. This report reflected on the events of 9/11 and the attacks being carried out by members of al-Qaeda. The report tells as well how security and intelligence agencies were insufficient coördinated to prevent the attacks.
The report says: “We believe the 9/11 attacks revealed four kinds of failures: in imagination, policy, capabilities, and management” The Commission made significant recommendations as how to prevent future attacks. However the truth has been never fully established about the background dynamics before 9/11, like the truth has never been fully established on the background dynamics before the assassination of President John F.Kennedy. We all know that the Warren Commission was created to divert from the horrors within the US establishment and even though the funeral of John F. Kennedy was dignified and respectful for the world, the same US undercurrents responsible for his death continued for many years in US establishment and those responsible walked free as his assassination was part of a plan to change the future of the US, – like 9/11 being prepared and “allowed” as part of a plan to change US direction.
“God may be our refuge and strength” – but there are conditions of justice as well, hence  the Old Testament is a story about “God’s people” often in strive, and diverting from what is required, or what was perceived as justice.
Psalm 91 was the text for Senator Ted Kennedy‘s funeral in 2009, indicating that “whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befall, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good… He shall live long enough; till he has done the work he was sent into this world for, and is ready for heaven….” Who would wish to live a day longer than God has some work to do, either by him or upon him? A man may die young, yet be satisfied with living….”  – The verses of this Psalm deal generally with how God protects his people. The examples given are particularly political in this specific Psalm, including gossips and snares, even conspiracies. The 1500 guests at Ted Kennedy’s funeral did represent some of the heaviest conspirators in the country, and Ted Kennedy was obviously surrounded by it.
With modern media we can both serve respect and dignity, whilst at the same time masking what actually happened that day on 9/11, now more than 10 years ago. “God may be indeed our refuge and strength” if we are committed to do right and provide justice as a people and as rulers, hence Psalm 46 was more suitable for President Obama than for former US President G W Bush, the last being a member of “Skull and Bones.”
Just coming back on one aspect of 9/11 with some closure in the direction of truth and justice. The collapse of  World Trade Centre 7  was most unusual because it was the first known tall building collapsing as a result of uncontrolled fires, in this case restricted fires only.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory agency of the United States Department of Commerce. They have been investigating the falls of the Twin Towers/WTC including WTC7.  According to NIST, the investigation of WTC7 was delayed for various reasons, in part because NIST staff were assigned full-time from June 2004 to September 2005 to work on the investigation of the collapse of the Twin Towers. In June 2007, Shyam Sunder explained, “We are proceeding as quickly as possible while rigorously testing and evaluating a range of scenarios to reach the most definitive conclusion possible. The 7 WTC investigation is in some respects just as challenging, if not more so, than the study of the towers. However, the current study does benefit greatly from the significant technological advances achieved and lessons learned from our work on the towers.”

The  point  was  that  WTC7  made  a  free  fall!!

Statements that the Towers fell in eight and ten seconds have been repeated by both proponents and critics of the official explanation. WTC7 made a symmetric free fall in a 6.5-seconds plunge, suggestive of a controlled demolition, as shown in various non-edited videos. In the draft report in August 2008, NIST tried to cover up the free fall evidence, but in its last report it acknowledged the free fall. Fires never destroyed a steel skyscraper. WTC7 had a number of very restricted fires of unknown duration before the total collapse at 5:20 PM. Official reports assume that debris from the fall of the North Tower started those fires at 10:29 AM.  Having said this, again those fires were very restricted.
What we know of WTC7 is that it stored SEC files on many Wall Street investigations. Not only this, it contained as well various federal investigative files. All the files for about 4,000 SEC cases were destroyed. Especially those files being classified as confidential were destroyed, without backup elsewhere. Furthermore files about Citigroup and the WorldCom scandal were completely lost. The Secret Service had its largest field office at WTC7, with over 200 employees. With the free fall of WTC 7 really all investigative files were lost. Significant evidence on all their cases was entirely destroyed.
We are only able to see a tip of the iceberg of hidden injustice behind 9/11, for which al-Qaeda was only in part responsible. Once more, in a much media controlled America this has never been fully addressed. Like the assassination on JFK it would seem systems in the US are allowed to skim the surface of some injustice, as long as the deeper layers of the same injustice keeps on file, –  in records or being destroyed and not to be disclosed anymore. As such allowing similar injustice to repeat itself. – with different identities if so required for the direction of the US (whoever decides on this direction).
G.W. Bush used one of the known Lincoln quotations for comfort this last Sunday, and those people in Manhattan needed comfort. The quotation applied to the sorrow & mourning endured during the American Civil War, and in particular at Gettysburg. However the Gettysburg battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War where President Lincoln reflected on in the quotation being used, was a battle of an entirely  different nature. Any time when people die in needless conflicts or other predicaments,  comfort for those who are left behind is required. Where the battle of Gettysburg was barely preventable, – 9/11 was!
 Where Lincoln with his Administration by no means made efforts to make matters worse, – the Bush Cheney and Rumsfeld combination did so by allowing other forces to do the dirty work as part of a prepared “master plan” to attack both Afghanistan and Iraq. 9/11 provided them with the required and desired excuse to go to war, and as such 9/11 was supposed to happen.
Osama bin Laden could have been caught long ago before 9/11 and the US was well aware of this pending attack.
“The God of Jacob is our refuge. He makes wars to stop to the end of the earth”, ..as long as we don’t start them for reasons and triggers neither being justified nor legitimate. As long as we don’t provoke terror by wrong doings either in the the past or in the future, as the last will always hit back. When we have to fight the struggle being justified and not preventable we may trust on support from the highest almighty, as there is a lot of evil in this world. However a justified conflict is not always a justified war and allowing via secret missions 9/11 to happen has never been an issue for the criminal justice department, as this would hit the heart of US National Security. Hence the many requests from various officials to investigate 9/11 again have been always ignored or suppressed.
Allowing such  injustice to be ignored or suppressed is not allowing the US to emerge from challenges to get really stronger in the future, as the roots of some evil within the US has not been destructed, – like the roots of some evil within the US justice departments and US establishment was not destructed after the JFK assassination.
We put a nice face for the world and mourn, US officials included during the funeral of JFK in 1963. The Jackie Kennedy tapes, who show only a fraction, give an impression of a world where everything is possible, including a risk of total destruction whilst nobody is really aware.
“Our fore fathers brought forth a continent and a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…(said Lincoln).. “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honoured dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.
Really this is the crux, this is the crux for countries which fit this picture, – as we can’t export the concept:”that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”, – and the first struggle is the government itself, those people allowing people to die in conflicts and war’s neither being nobly triggered nor nobly advanced, even by those who proclaim to be the defenders of the free world.
Video records from different angles do show that each Tower’s top began its fall precipitously, and they show the falling tops for a few seconds before they disappeared into an exploding dust of clouds. In those collapses dust clouds, showing the behaviour of “pyroclastic flows” associated with volcanoes, grew rapidly as they fell. Each cloud did consume its Tower’s top in a few seconds, and then it continued to descend, and stayed centered around the Tower’s axis. On repeated observation, each cloud had a reasonable well-defined top and bottom. The descent being timed using video records on various occasions, and ignored by the mainstream media.
NIST finally (officially) accepted that WTC7 came down with the acceleration of gravity, considering however this being a phase in a 5.4 second interval which they claim is matching the 5.4 seconds required for their model to collapse 18 floors. The starting point of their 5.4 second interval is totally arbitrary, and has no scientific base. This allows Shyam Sunder and Gross to undermine their own government-funded investigations.
The “9/11 Truth Movement” did widely show on the many inconsistencies as such implying a cover up and in the worst case scenario complicity by insiders.
Major General Albert Stubblebine was the Commanding General of the United States Army Intelligence and Security Command from 1981 to 1984.

Major General STUBBLEBINE says demolition Charges on WTC

USA American Maj. General Stubblebine tells us NO PLANE hit the Pentagon, and demolition charges took down the three WTC buildings

by: William Wagner

Major Stubblebine as can be seen did consider 9/11 to be largely “an inside job”.
After Stubblebine retired from the Army in 1984 he worked for BDM Corporation and as a part-time consultant to two government contractors, ERIM and Space Applications Corporation. In the 2006 documentary “One Nation Under Siege”  he states to the attack on The Pentagon: I look at the hole in The Pentagon , and I look at the size of an airplane that was supposed to have hit the Pentagon, and I said:“The plane does not fit in that hole. So what did hit the Pentagon?”
Ted Gunderson joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in December 1951 under J. Edgar Hoover. In 1973 he became the head of the Memphis FBI and then the head of the Dallas FBI in 1975. He became the head of the Los Angeles FBI in 1977. In 1979 he was one of a handful interviewed for the job of FBI director, which ultimately went to William H. Webster. Ted Gunderson reflected on many occasions on his perception that 9/11 was an inside job and the works of the CIA. He recently died.
Lev Grossman of TIME magazine once stated that support for the 9/11 Truth movement for certain is not a “fringe phenomenon”, but “a mainstream political reality.”
Mark Fenster, law professor at the University of Florida and author of the book “Conspiracy Theories:Secrecy and Power in American Culture says: “the amount of organisation” of the movement is much stronger than the organization of the movement related to doubts about the official account of the assassination of former United States President John F Kennedy. He considers this likely being due to the potential of new media technologies.
Especially former Vice President Dick Cheney, and some members of the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank, have been accused to be involved or having awareness of the alleged plot, allowing  the Bush administration the required justification for more widespread abuses of civil liberties and to invade Afghanistan and Iraq for different reasons than officially reflected.
Even former President Jimmy Carter had much doubt about the official “9/11 Commission” verdict and requested a new investigation, like many high level US military representatives who felt 9/11 was a “bridge too far” by US Government.
Started in 2011 by Senator Mike Gravel, the 9/11 Commission Campaign’s goal is to enact subpoena-capable, state-level commissions via state ballot initiatives, the last in Oregon, Alaska and California. These commissions are aimed as citizen-driven, independent organizations that would form a semi-unified grassroots national presence by exercising joint powers authority.
The US Government does not coöperate one bit in new investigations and for them 9/11 is history with the “book being closed” under the umbrella of decent memorial services with very much public attention of a potential al-Qaeda attack.
The memorial service once more was well deserved and decent, but the past operations under the previous Bush Administration were far from decent, like the L.B. Johnson dealings with the Kennedy assassination were far from decent – after and before he took over as US President.
Publicly they seem to do the right thing, well supported by a more controlled media who tend to ask fewer questions.
I am not speaking about President Obama because in the post GW Bush-era with so many people still having close links with this dark past it is very difficult to undermine the existing US establishment without serious repercussions. He did do the right thing, clinging on to Psalm 46 and reaching out to both victims and former US President Bush, like Nelson Mandela tried to look to the future and not to the past.
However 9/11 memorial services are not the same as reconciliation and it should be noted that at the time of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, whatever we may consider of the later Administrations after Mandela, – at that time South Africa was more advanced than the US as it did not try to hide secrets. South Africa as a country tried to face the facts as they were and sometimes a profound “sorry” is warranted from people in leadership positions who did do wrong.
Let President Obama do the job as US President, which he is doing fine and he needs now to keep the bigger picture in mind as terror through terror increased and the al-Qaeda risk is more clear than before 9/11 as result of the decisions going to war. Bluntly, it was the wrong decision and if Al-Gore who actually had the majority vote would have been US President at the time when GW Bush became President, – 9/11 would not have happened.
 Likewise if Adlai Stevenson was John F. Kennedy’s vice-president, JFK would never have been assassinated.
Perhaps for G.W. Bush applies as well, that with Dick Cheney he had the wrong US Vice President.
As long or will be real “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, –  the truth and justice shall not perish from the earth.
That’s the obligation of a democracy true to its principles.
Let’s hope it is, – that’s all we can say..
I hope Senator Mike Gravel will be very successful with his joint powers authority!
Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf
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Added on 10-12-2014:
Added on 11-10-2015:

Profiles In US Presidential Violations of Justice – Front page (Part 1 of 11)


Presidents of the United States, before 1868

Presidents of the United States, before 1868 (Photo credit: Penn State Special Collections Library)

Front page of  “Profiles in US Presidential Violations of Justice”. Part 1.

Introduction:

“Profiles in US Presidential Violations of Justice” gives an overview of some previous US Presidents from the perception of  violations of Justice,  the last including both the law and/or  US Constitution.

The facts are actually somewhat sobering perhaps and offer an insight at the Executive branch of the US where vital decisions are made for both the US, with a considerable impact at times for the whole world.

Those articles are aimed to show certain Presidential dynamics from a different perspective, both to allow discussion on acceptable standards, – however really fully accepting that the perceptions on those Presidencies can be seen from various perspectives and that it is important in all cases to view the broader context, – the last being fair to history itself and the people who tried to give it their own best efforts once they were elected as US President. They did all work in their own time with the dynamics and questions of their own generation and with their own personal struggles. The last should not be forgotten.

Against all wrongdoings there are considerable achievements at various levels, regardless whether we agree or disagree. It is up to historians to judge the wider picture with the available information at the time.

Since the assassination of President John F Kennedy in 1963 the military arm of the US has been increasingly involved in foreign policy making, not rarely with the use of various covert operations at different levels.  See for instance: >>>>>: https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/beyond-911-memorial-services-2011/  and  Anniversary JFK assassination and review  <<<<

The impact of both this influence and the combination of some US Presidents to be discussed has not always been that fortunate.  The profiles on those earlier US President‘s will explain this in  some  detail.

Those profiles on violations of justice however are only restricted to certain aspects or dealings of  those US Presidents, mainly obviously during their years in the White House.

They are, again,  not intended to comment on their legacy in a broader sense.  

Some of those people who were once “US Commander-in-Chief” passed away, others are in retirement. They left behind  valuable examples in areas which could have been dealt with differently. However areas also where they increased the risk on conflict or war, – besides human rights being abused on various occasions.

For certain at times they did  contribute in a wider sense to both the US and the world.

“Profiles in US Presidential Violations of Justice” can be found in the webpages below:

“If  angels  were  to  govern  men, neither  external  nor  internal controls  on government  would be  necessary.  In framing  a government  which  is  to be administered  by  men  over  men, the  great  difficulty  is  this: You  must  first  enable  the  government  to  control  the governed; and  in  the  next  place ,  oblige  it  to  control itself.”

James Madison, 1788—

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“Lincoln  was  not  a  perfect  man, nor  a  perfect  President.  By  modern  standards his condemnation  of slavery  might  be  considered  tentative.”
 —Barack  Obama, Chicago  Tribune,  June, 25, 2005
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>Profiles in US Presidential Violations of Justice – Introduction  (Part 2 of 11) on July 4, 2011

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US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice (Part 3 – former US President Johnson) on July 16, 2011

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US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice  (Part 4 – former President Nixon) on July 19, 2011

US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice  (Part 5 – former President Ford) on July 20, 2011

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US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice.  (Part 6 – former President Carter, the exception) on July 28, 2011

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US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice. (Part 7 – former President Ronald Reagan) on August 1, 2011

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US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice. (Part 8 – former President H.W. Bush) on August 6, 2011

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US Presidential profiles in violations of Justice. (Part 9 – former President W. J. Clinton) on August 9, 2011

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>US Presidential profiles in violations of justice. (Part 10 – former President G.W. Bush) on August 13, 2011

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—–>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
In the article below President Barack Obama is discussed as a prime example of setting better standards since President John F Kennedy. This however is not within the context of “Profiles in US Presidential Violations of Justice” as the last goes from President L.B. Johnson until President  G. W. Bush. It is only an addition or example how things can be different at this level of executive power. The article about President Obama is an interim assessment before his re-election. Whilst every US President will be faced with confidential injustice, for every person in this position applies at times the question how much justice can be  served with injustice. Keeping the right balance between those paradoxes and utilising the choice of serving the best possible justice with a candid exposure of the facts at both inner-team level and the public will give the best possible reflection on each US President, as long ethical the best possible choices are made. This does not take away that for President Obama e.g. applies as well that he has an agenda which he wants to push through amidst the separation of powers in the US.
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Whilst the separation of powers are aimed to protect the US, it insufficiently protected the US during the last decades. History will show in retrospect how President Obama played the bouncing ball game of tensions and dimensions at this level to get his agenda for more social justice through.
Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

Profiles in US Presidential Violations of Justice – Introduction (Part 2 of 11)


>>INTRODUCTION<<

The White House Southside

The White House Southside (Photo credit: Glyn Lowe Photoworks)

“Democracy…while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy.     Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”  – John Adams  (1735 – 1826)

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people”.  – John F Kennedy (1917 – 1963)

“I know my country has not perfected itself. At times, we’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality for all our people. We’ve made our share of mistakes, and there are times when our actions around the world have not lived up to our best intentions”.                                           – Barack Obama (1961 –   )

In addition to the first chapter the following comments are justified as part of a broader introduction.

The circles of Washington are  mysterious , dark and deep,  and each President has to balance wisely before he sleeps, – balance wisely before he sleeps.

Robert Frost  with his quote:  “The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, – and miles to go before I sleep…”, – phrased it slightly differently.

However, – despite the promises  the balance of how far one can go and except degrees of injustice to meet  perhaps more justice eventually, proved different for each US President. Sometimes it takes an inch,  sometimes it takes indeed miles.  However in general much depends on the integrity, the ideology and the wisdom of  the US President, besides obviously the circumstances  to be addressed, – but also the persons being nominated (or already in place) to advise the President on matters of both domestic and foreign policy.

Many issues as we know evolve in close coöperation with a variety of advisers, apart from e.g. Agencies such as  the FBI, the CIA and  the Pentagon.  Those Agencies in good  hands  serve for certain the right purpose as long as they stick to their original assignments.

“Profiles in Presidential violations of Justice”  does  not discuss the current US President ( Barack Obama)  as such as he still is at an early stage of his Presidency.  The article “Interim assessment of a President” (within this Blog)  gives a more detailed indication on this remarkable first African American President.

Presidential dynamics have not been always the same in US history and the selection of people in key positions of the Pentagon and the CIA  (after President Truman established the CIA in 1947) are and will be  always vital where it comes to both competence and integrity within the scope of the various obligations of those Agencies, – especially where US Presidents rely on the intelligence provided by those Agencies.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” does neither go into the finer details on the lives of some US Presidents in the past,  nor does it mention the broader legacy in any extended detail.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice”  is a reflection only on some significant incidents against the principles of justice, some worse than others. However what those Presidents did at crucial moments during their Presidency against this justice, sometimes already before entering this office,  has been a touchstone of their character. Not rarely it did effect far too many people.

Any new President at the start is facing the challenge to set up a cabinet of capable, effective and reliable people. Besides this there is the  building up of relationships with the various existing Government agencies including the Pentagon, which are all vital to set the tone for the rest of the Administration in the years lying ahead.  All those people and groups contribute to the making of a President but obviously the Presidency itself  provides the required choices to show what lies ahead. Those final choices give directions, –  either being in the positive or in the negative. Once an US President get compromised it is difficult at times to get out of it, depending on the strength of character.  John F Kennedy took e.g. the full blame of the Bay of Pigs failures which was however related with poorly provided information by the CIA.  Presidential failures still, whether they are genuine or deliberate, provide valuable lessons for the future. Deliberate actions to mislead the public with a criminal background or intend are obviously far more serious than the genuine mistakes anybody can make in such a place, as long there is evidence that  some quality ways to reach certain decisions were in place.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice” gives an insight in the complexities and different dynamics of various Presidential Administrations and the choices being made. It starts  from the 22nd of November 1963 (when President John F Kennedy was assassinated) until the 21st of January 2009 when the last Bush Administration  ended and the Obama Administration did begin.

The greater call for all Presidents was to do better for the country and serve as such, besides obviously personal ambitions. Those last 2 aspects might have been different for each President. The ways and the programs have been different as well. Likewise the level of integrity has been different for earlier Presidents being faced with the bigger questions and the larger  picture,  which did include  the Presidential coöperation with various US security Agencies and the dealings with both US Congress and US law. It proves that whatever is public knowledge is not always the truth, and that some Presidents were in principle and by principle compromised already before they took the Presidential oath to the Constitution.

Some US Presidents  did contribute towards a program for domestic reforms whilst at the same time approving various CIA covert operations at a level neither in line with morality nor US law.

Both the Pentagon and the CIA have the duty to protect the interests of the US and make recommendations  to the President, who has the final responsibility of decision-making.

Both Agencies have admirable people on board with the highest levels of integrity and duty of service where it comes to the protection of the US against dangers from abroad, – whether those dangers are inflicted by eg Al-Qaeda terrorist cells at present, or dangers of so-called rogue states who may prove an increasing danger in the future. The past showed  however under various Presidents that those Agencies were not governed (anymore) by some reasonable required standards of morality, or accuracy in providing intelligence or security information.  Neither did it prove that the Presidential powers as they were exercised were in line with the required standards given by US Law and Constitution.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice”  gives at least an insight where and how those standards with some Presidents failed, and it gives  an insight why they  failed and which areas of systems might be subject for further improvement.

Dangerous situations may arise when Government Agencies are not operating under the full control of the US President, or when e.g. the nominated persons being CIA Director or chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have full control of both  “the culture” and working dynamics of their own organisations, or when they simply hide information for the purpose of their own agenda’s. The system fails as well when those Agencies (the FBI included)  have an Organisational agenda neither being in alignment within the Constitutional balance of powers, nor with US law.

History proves that there have been incidents in which US Presidents acted on proper and correct information of those Agencies, however history proves as well that if the US President would have acted on the intelligence provided, – the world would not have existed anymore as due to failures to give complete information as required. The Cuba crisis in 1962 is a clear example of this.

The Assassination of US President John F. Kennedy in 1963 did show many years later CIA involvement,  including  involvement at the highest US political powers in the cover up. All for various dark reasons and both – needless to say – against the Constitution and the US law.  The public was seriously misled by the Warren Commission and some do show  that the “9/11 Commission” was of similar nature with the intend to mislead US citizens. The people supposed to protect the Constitution and the law at the time,  were reportedly involved in various cover up’s at the highest levels of Government, – which is neither a good reflection of a democracy nor the justice systems being supposed to be fully operational without discrimination of any nature.

History does further show that US Presidents already compromised before they even started their Presidency, were unlikely to resist the pressures from above Agencies.  For this reason they did collaborate  in close coöperation with some of those Agencies at times the independent view and the wisdom of the President was required to make final decisions. The lack of required integrity did involve certain activities neither known by the public, nor by Congress, – and obviously profoundly against US law or common justice.

In the most positive scenario, “Profiles in US Presidential violations of justice” may support further discussion to improve the regulation systems within “the US balance of powers”. The last actually to protect the US against itself.  If those systems do not improve, some  historical events being reflected on  would be able to  repeat itself with an unpredictable and different identity.  Those situations could potentially provoke  the most dangerous situations the US as a Republic and Democracy could face.

US Presidents may fail for various reasons, as long as the detection systems (including the internal checks within the Constitutional balance of powers) do not fail, and as long it is clear that neither US Presidents, nor the CIA,   neither Officials of the Pentagon nor any other Agency, are able to work outside the powers of the law, or the Constitution, or outside the legitimate requirements of  US  Congress.

US Presidents (with full Congressional support) need  to be strong enough to rule the major background powers in the US, –  based on fair common sense and proper value systems with evidently both the broader picture in mind, together with a high level of integrity.

Within the context of those earlier Presidential dynamics including a variety of covert operations for different reasons, it is realistic to say that never ever had the US so much to lose or so much to gain, and that all decisions within the US Constitution delegated to the Executive branch should be based on merit and purpose for the US future itself.  Hence the political system in the US needs to work optimal in line with the principles provided by both the law and the Constitution.

With the fall of communism but still an ongoing Arab – Israeli conflict;  with wars in Vietnam and Iraq behind us, but still the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban as part of the war in Afghanistan (where the “war on terror” designed to defend Western values escalated into a conflict with disregard for human rights), – we now may face a reality that China may overtake the US as the world’s greatest superpower. Where the Holocaust did show  genocide at a never experienced scale,  the cold war brought us close to global nuclear destruction in 1962 through incomplete management and advise of both the CIA and the Pentagon against the dangers inflicted by the Soviets. It was wise management however of John F. Kennedy as President which saved the world due to his independent and broader views. The US needs internal protection that a history of military confrontation for the wrong reasons, is not going to compromise a  future for the right reasons.

The US has a history of many costly wars which brought the federal budget deficit at record level without any proportionate benefit, however never took it the time and the opportunity to reëxamine its own attitude and responsibility in the many predicaments it both faced and created.

It takes the wider community of US Government Executives and Controlling powers to raise the US above the standards of the past, and to embrace both the opportunities and challenges of the future with a wise balance of principle centred leadership where proper value systems are at the core of the decisions being made. The last to ease a direction towards more positive global dynamics, based on fruitful interdependence with in the end a better economy and prosperity for those nations being involved. This direction includes reduction of terror activities by at least not provoking this terror within the domain of US power.

“Profiles in US Presidential violations of Justice”  gets at the heart of this required principle centred leadership –  with examples where it went wrong against both the Constitution and the law.

Each Presidential profile offers material for sustained discussion as it does touch base on the fundamental question which direction to go in a world facing more dangers than ever before. The response on problems, crisis and disasters is as important as those pending disasters, crisis and problems itself and it will be clear that US response in e.g.areas of  foreign policy has been highly inadequate and dangerous at times.

The following 8 chapters will picture the problems and foundations of the decision-making US Presidents differently and the last epilogue will summarise some events.

Next article will start with Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President who took over after the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

Profiles In US Presidential Violations of Justice – Front page (Part 1 of 11) on July 5, 2011

The Dangers of US Decay Within the Foundation of its Democracy.


English: Painting, 1856, by Junius Brutus Stea...

English: Painting, 1856, by Junius Brutus Stearns, Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whilst democratic movements spread across the globe the concept of “democracy”  being potentially at risk is more clear than ever before,  – not really only by those countries  opposing the principles of democracy, but  even more at times by those who are supposed to protect it.

On a positive note for the US, the 2011 Obama Administration seems to work within the balance of powers as being  provided within the US  Constitution more at least than some of the previous Administrations, – operating clearly with more value systems at the centre. This is the way it should be and perhaps he is the first US President since Kennedy and Carter with value systems at the core of his Administration in terms of domestic policy. However the practicalities do not prove to be easy and with his level of strength and providing leadership, it is still wait and see how he will break with the tradition of the US  being involved in war’s which should not be there in the first instance.

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Presidential powers exercised during previous US Administrations however created a precedent within the US of using the “arm” of the CIA to engage in most secret covert operations,  both within and outside US mainland and in part against all forms of human rights and/or dignity. The last with the ability even to keep Congress out of the picture with collective organised cover up’s and controlling the media, – besides suppressing  existing  justice systems as they should be able to work in a free society.

The US  is neither sufficiently protected against the phenomenal powers from some internal background forces, which does include the CIA and the Pentagon, – nor from the collective systems of separation of powers with internal checks and balances to work in alignment of the Constitution and the law. Legislation is required to change this to better ways of law enforcement at the Executive branch of the US, as such to protect the US against itself. With the wrong persons in power at the main divisions of this Executive branch, the systems of governance might turn out to be a total failure, with cover up’s in place to hide matters from both Congress the public and the world.

Presidential powers are inappropriately able to collide (largely e.g. on foreign policy issues and military operations) with the existing background powers and vice versa; whilst Congress can be kept in the dark with the required investigations or hearings being delayed,  – various justice systems being obstructed as well within e.g the FBI, – and with other help if so required.  Besides this the media can be and has been controlled for many years. As such democracy at its worst proves both to be repugnant and intolerable, – whilst no systems are in place to correct this; nor systems being in place to reopen insufficient and past Government initiated investigations and held e.g. former Presidents (including members of their Administrations)  accountable within the obligations of fair justice for all, – and not the few most powerful being excluded for those principles of the same justice.

Collective ignorance for the  profound risks  of a democracy not being exposed for its existing decay and failures (with both complete and right historical reflections on the past)  – whilst voters are either misled or do not take notice – will provoke even worse decay to come with  “the balance of power”  being more compromised than ever before. Worsening repressive systems and corrupting elements may have free play at the highest positions in the US  (if not stopped)  if the US by error may choose the wrong President as happened with the Bush Administration not that long ago. At present this former US President is not able to visit Switzerland without the risk of being arrested as due to war crimes and human right abuses, which does show that at least something went wrong. Even for some US citizens who claim their systems of Government are always right and pretend to have proper knowledge of the US Constitution. Some even claiming that President Obama is to blame for everything what is wrong. The dangers of right wing extremism are unfortunately quite evident in the US and though no Party may claim to be perfect, the Democratic Party in the US has at present the best credentials to facilitate the required reforms as the Republicans (as “an Organisation”) lost any sense of direction. Obviously this may change in the future with new talent and vision and skill perhaps arriving at some stage.

 

Some may say the US  is a Republic only. However this Republic is still based on democratic and constitutional principles of the separation and balance of powers, not being allowed those principles and common US values being compromised  by either currents within the CIA or Pentagon. Existing powers at the level of the President or Congress seem to have insufficient oversight, – if senior management within both Pentagon and CIA  are unable to get their Organisations under control and in line with both US law and the Constitution. With both the wrong President and ill selected people in top positions of both the CIA and the Pentagon the US is in danger of being an enemy of itself.

Both within the Military and CIA  are enough very highly regarded people with dignity for their own country, not willing to sacrifice the US Constitution and the implications of this Constitution on the altars of human rights abuses, whether it is in the US or anywhere else in the world. Sounds excessive perhaps but “9/11” e.g. was largely an internal job as far as former Division Chief of the FBI Ted Gunderson concerned. It was an internal job as well as far as Major General Albert Stubblebine concerned, who was the Commanding General of the United States Army Intelligence. Still many people ask for clarification on 9/11, even at the highest levels of the Military Branch as the contradictions did not add up and the most evil systems within the US itself could have been part of the massacre in 2001, to give the US President an excuse to go to war.

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Preserving democracy as the best possible governance against historically profound failures of the alternatives  is subject to prove, provided by the Democracy itself. The US has to work on this to keep up its credibility, not only for its own people, but in the face of the world as well.

Secret powers within democracies have the ability within the dark corners of the world to degrade the meaning of democracy into the “bludgeoning of the people by the people and for the people”,  without mechanisms to control those powers responsible for this ugly manifestation of inhumanity.

The Greek city state Athens, once being reflected on  as the highlight of democracy, developed by its people probably the finest form of direct democracy ever being created. Obviously with its purest form this is not practical anymore in current times and places. Introduced by its popular leader Cleisthenes in about 500 BC there was the ecclesia which was inviting all eligible citizens over the age of 18 to meet on a regular base to discuss important state business by debate. In those days they would reach a decision based on the majority of those being around  by a show of hands.

Pericles, the Athenian leader,  at a funeral speech delivered 430 BC paid tribute to the constitution of those days which favours the many and not the few,  indicating  the importance of liberty and equality before the law. Political preferment should be based on merit and neither through the wealth of power and money nor class, – was his perception.

Both Plato and Aristotle warned for the potential of democracy being put at risk by those who are persistent unruly unstable  and corrupt. The lessons go through history with major powers coming up and major powers going down as due to self inflicted obstruction of justice. Not only this.  The power of imperialism with overstretched  military resources and lack of economic durability have been at the foundations of the fall of Great Powers in history, together with poorly controlled internal corruption.

If we look at history,  super powers crumbled down as a result of corrupting powers colluding within a culture of decay. Democracies are not without those risks if existing decay  is not eliminated within the process of proper law enforcement. The US needs to manage its affairs as it proved that military expenditure out with any proportion compromised economic growth within proportion. Frankly the US has increased its risk of following the similar pathway as Great Powers in the past, running out of the recourses to stay sustainable. The deepening controversy about spending priorities as shown in US Congress, with a politics of short term advantage and long-term disadvantage provide the base of potentially spiralling down dynamics.

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At the heart of democracy lies the question of the supreme powers of state (created by the people for the people),  to protect lawfully the rights of people being restricted to prevent the misuse of powers to cut those same rights as implemented by the Constitution. This failed at unimaginable scale during the last Bush Administration. The trend of allowing the major background powers in the US to have more say in public policy since the assassination of JFK, accelerated during the last Bush Administration. The corrupting Government investigations about the realities of the CIA orchestrated 9/11 drama,  provided a ruthless US Executive Branch to go to war at pleasure, as by choice there was a stand down in the security systems and by choice there was a US controlled demolition of the various towers in the lower Manhattan area of New York in 2001. This direction could prove in US history -in retrospect – the last straw over which the US lost its potential to continue to be sustainable. The Obama Administration has to stick to the conduct of US Presidents neither being critical against those provoking powers nor to stop the war in Afghanistan at once,  without running the  risk to be assassinated by extreme right wing elements.

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The limitations of powers by the Executive branch with its far too much dominating Agencies must be exercised with the consent of the voters, but is the only reason the US could survive as a sustainable Democracy with full backing of US Congress. The trend to be involved in various pointless war’s , apart from those who have both security and moral merit with the approval of Congress, may drive the US to bankruptcy.

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As shown, the relation between people and state on the justified balance between might and right is still an issue after centuries of battle. Political mechanisms to make sure that those who govern at various levels remain accountable can’t be guaranteed only by regular elections and competition.

The reality of the political process and operating powers remain a concern, as some of the most basic constitutional rights and obligations have been compromised during the last decades. Often behind closed doors and in the dark corners of those places where detection was being made  difficult and operating justice systems being prepared to compromise the truth by those people already being  compromised.

Both President Truman and President Eisenhower warned against significant background powers within the US with connections deep within those separation of powers and elaborate systems of checks and balances. Those background powers decide at some extend – together with the Presidential powers being exercised – the direction of the US Government.  Sinister branches of those background powers carry a history of human atrocities in a wide variety, both within and outside the US.  When those powers were under threat by political opponents in the US, assassinations or smear campaigns have not rarely been the tools of choice to stay in control and prevent exposure.

Those  collective background powers, working somehow together, are at some extend able to attract those US Presidents who are able to remain the status quo of both secrets and society, misleading not rarely – and profoundly!-   the majority of the voters.

Democracy can be  a charming form of government full of variety,  but  not rarely full of disorder as well at various levels.

It should not happen that democratic societies are in a position to get “criminals” eventually in positions perhaps affecting  branches of government, – whilst law enforcement each country deserves is unable to extinguish the malicious effect those people may have on their systems of governance. This is decay in the foundations of a democracy as profoundly demonstrated during the last US Administration and not resolved by tighter legislation. It can happen any time again with even worse implications.

It is not in our poor power to add or detract the value of those who struggled before us and could not stay around to finish their task, those who fought for fairness and justice against the senseless acts of bloodshed which ignored our common humanity on the battlefields of civilian slaughter.

This is what happened with 9/11 and during various war’s, the last of which were “open” at times but more often they took place as part of secret operations.

The violence of the increasing decay in institutions with indifference and inaction do show the sickness of the soul of a country anywhere possible on this world with different gradations.

The US is an example of a Republic based on the principles of a democracy where more proactive management is required in terms of legislation to prevent the various abuses of power, as too many people lost their lives and to many compromises were made at the cost of an economy in shambles as a result of excessive and pointless war activities in the past.

When we can’t resist the temptation to meet disagreement with force we breed violence and this violence will breed retaliation and potential terror. We need to be strong enough to defend ourselves against any  evil powers who want to get the better of us,  but whilst living on this planet the short time we have, we need to realise that those who live in our times are our brothers and as such we need to act against inhumanity hatred or blind revenge, – as our common goal on earth is at a different level, regardless the need indeed to extinguish the dangers of terror.

Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/profiles-in-us-presidential-violations-of-justice-part-1/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/

Interim assessment of a President


Introduction.

President Barack Obama addresses the House Dem...

President Barack Obama addresses the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the 2012 US Presidential elections in sight, we are now slowly closing in on the first 1000 days in Office of the current 44th US President Barack Hussein Obama, – borne the 4th of August 1961 in Hawaii.

Upon taking office Barack Obama was seen as a refreshing alternative for his predecessor  President  George W. Bush, the last being embattled both as due to an increasing and soaring national budget deficit, apart from and unpopular war in Iraq.

With the midterm 2010 elections for both the Senate and the House of Representatives the Democrats lost ground to the Republicans, creating more challenges for the Obama administration in terms of required legislation.

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Various Presidents have been assessed on their performance after they left the White House.

As described in “The Presidential Difference” – written by Professor Fred I. Greenstein – there are 6 quality indicators which largely relate to a Presidential job performance,  regardless whether he or she is popular or not.  With a minor variation and adding the quality of “courage” (being part of integrity)  those quality indicators are applied to President Barack Obama in this article, – being mindful however that this is just an interim assessment of a dynamic Presidency not being completed as yet.

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The Presidents ability first as a public communicator is presenting actually the outer face of leadership, as it provides both  the ability to energize the creative resources and intellectual skills of  various groups of people in society.  It is by far an important quality to be assessed because if the President in his role is able really to offer sustained vision, direction and hope,  – he will prove to have a lot of leverage at significant levels of people, –  both at home and abroad.

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The second quality is the President’s ability to select and organise an effective team, – working in alignment with his vision.  Professor Fred Greenstein calls it: “to organise the inner workings of the Presidency”.

The third important quality of any significant leader in a country is his or her political skill, to make manifest real “vision” in public policy that works.  It is a skill requiring and maintaining a wise balance  between both supporters and opponents.

The fourth skill of a President is his ability to have access to – and to filter and use the relevant daily information, – with a view to work effectively on a day to day base, besides preparing his or her strategies for the future towards meaningful purposes.

The quality of courage enables a President or Prime Minister to do what is right and just at a specific time and place – despite opposition and despite risks of not being elected anymore, not to speak about other risks. This quality of courage or >”Grace under pressure” <(as once called by Ernest Hemingway)  is closely interlinked with the integrity of a leader.

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Andrew Jackson once said: “One man with courage makes a majority.”  Examples of this did include both Churchill and Roosevelt, besides many others. This quality is not only a virtue in times of war, but for certain today rather a virtue at times of peace, to prevent the dangers of war, and to aid progress to reduce both the risks of our time and increase prosperity at different national and international levels, – with the inclusion of proper law enforcement.  At times it means a firm choice for the benefit of a whole country amidst gross opposition. There are many “people” examples in the past, not rarely as such being only recognised in retrospect, – sometimes many years later.

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Barack Obama made history on its own by becoming the first African-American President, with an unusual background as an American born in Hawaii.

Being largely raised by his white mother following a divorce from his Kenyan father in 1964, – he moved to Indonesia after his mother remarried a Geography graduate from Indonesia in 1966, who took his new family to Jakarta.   Until 1971 Barack Obama attended primary school in Indonesia and returned afterwards to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents. His maternal grandma died 2 days before the 2008 US Presidency elections.

With a background of various political science studies on US mainland,  Obama studied eventually law at Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude.  He married Michelle in October 1992 and amidst  his  position as a senior lecturer at the Chicago law school he joined a Chicago law firm specialising in civil rights, litigation and neighbourhood economics. His work before in the poverty-stricken areas of Chicago neighbourhoods made him realise that the scope and the domains of his actions were fairly limited and that a different direction of development was required.  This work in the poorest areas of Chicago was at the personal level most important for him. He decided not to be willing to be limited by America’s history but to change it.

He became a State senator for Illinois, representing the 13th district on Chicago’s south side. Between 2005 and 2008 he was a US Senator for exactly 3 years and 11 months, before being elected US President, – defeating the Republican nominee John McCain.

His movement for change to “>A  better Union<” is and has been in some sort of way an expression of  an older US movement for justice,  with roots going back to the movement which brought forward various people, – including e.g. Chicago’s first black Mayor, Ref. Martin Luther King,jr and Senator Robert F Kennedy. The tradition however goes even further and has  links with the Lincoln legacy.  –  Abraham Lincoln’s  Presidency has been always a source of inspiration for him.  Barack Obama’s inauguration on the 20th of january 2009  did show the spirit of some of his most remarkable predecessors.

>BRIEF SUMMARY OF PRESIDENTIAL ACHIEVEMENTS TILL SO FAR<

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Shortly after his inauguration and within the context of America’s deepest recession since Roosevelt, Obama signed the American recovery and reinvestment act as part of an economic stimulus program in February 2009.

President Obama himself was quite surprised receiving in October 2009  the Nobel Peace Prize, however it was perceived by “The Nobel Peace Prize Committee” that he already contributed in significant ways to peace.

Various other legislation followed, including the Tax Relief, the Unemployment Insurance  Reauthorization, – and Job Creation act.  Besides this the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Consumer Protection and the Dodd- Frank Wall Street legislation and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal.

Obama was able to gradually remove combat troops from Iraq. He increased however troop levels in Afghanistan after close consultation with his military advisers and signed an Arms Control Treaty with Russia. Early 2011 he ordered an enforcement of the UN sanctions-no- fly- zone over Libia and on the 1st of May military forces under his direct command killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

President Obama seeks to be reelected in 2012.

In summary President Obama has been quite active on various domestic policies, economic legislation, healthcare reforms and foreign policy. Main obstacles apart from the US economy are the war in Afghanistan and a “humbling” 2010 mid-term election, where the Democratic Party lost 63 seats and control of the House of Representatives. The US combat mission in Iraq has been finalised in August 2010, with still support for counter-terrorism and training security forces in Iraq. Regarding the 10 year old war in Afghanistan President Obama replaced the military commander General David D  McKieman with former special forces commander Lt general Stanley McChrystal in May 2009, as this would help the increasingly required  counter insurgency tactics in this longstanding war. After an incident with McChrystal’s staff criticising White House staff in public, – he was replaced by David Petraeus in June 2010. Anticipating troop withdrawals some 17 months from now it seems likely that David Petraeus may be nominated as the next Director of the CIA eventually, unless perhaps he opts to run as a Republican for the US Presidency in 2012

The Middle East with ongoing unrest in the Arab world as a result of various national uprise against oppressive governments are subject for intense US surveillance on balancing strategic interests and support of legitimate liberation movements. The policy on Libia and restrictions upon Syria are examples of this. Attacks by NATO war planes are continuing in Libia and there is a  international arrest warrant against Colonel Gaddafi.

The arrest of the IMF leader and potential Presidential candidate for France (in the US) did lead to significant upheaval this week, reflecting that US law in some cases does not discriminate.

Obama’s approval rate jumped recently with some 11% following bin Laden’s death but the slowly economic recovery remains a  significant factor in America’s judgement and approval rate. However in general, –  job creations have trended up with some 16% from March 2010, with the last 3 months an average of 250000 new positions being in place. Recent market gains have been due to higher earnings but US home values reduced further. The CPI index gained only 0.4 % in April 2011. Earnings and increasing jobs are essential with innovation reforms being required to sustain the popularity of President Obama, but the pace remains slow. A comprehensive immigration reform will be  one of the most turbulent political issues. As part of Obama’s long-term plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil, he will enhance a strategy to continue expanding safe oil production within US territory, with lessons drawn from the BP Gulf disaster.

Before the death of bin Laden President’s Obama charisma as a leader was not satisfactory in the view of public opinion. It is this public perception which requires ongoing attention within the context of the pending 2012 US Presidential elections.

Leadership skills are evidently there and particular circumstances are able to aid those skills to become more obvious and public. Many President’s in the past were faced with issues where bold decisions were required, based on integrity. The last however is already an existing and profound feature of the current US President.

>THE PRESIDENT AS A PUBLIC COMMUNICATOR<

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There are various references which do show that the 44th US President has exceptional  communication skills. Obama is connected with millions of Americans on a human and personal level. During the elections in 2008 he proved being able to underpin his public presentations with a bold vision around his “Politics of Hope.”  He knows that facts, details alone, will not move the people, –  and many of his communications and speeches are of an inspiring nature.  He has a willingness to listen in an emphatic way with a profound ability to hear different opinions in a respectful manner. In his communication he appears quite confident, but for certain not arrogant. He is aware of the importance of being deliberate thoughtful and not losing “his cool” under pressure. He has largely a relaxed communication style, being passionate at times to get his points through. Despite being under pressure at times, you never see it.  It proved that he is very much under control. He tends to take a pause before answering challenging questions. Even by those who do not agree with everything he says, he seems well liked by (most) Americans for his communication style.

>ORGANISATIONAL ABILITY<

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In line with President Lincoln, Obama did select wisely a cabinet of rivals where he appears clearly the leader in an environment of team discussions – with at times strongly different views. Within his own inner circle he became an increasing respected figure and though much has changed since a brilliant campaign organization in 2008, the political people advising him are still at large the same. He trusts his inner circle and they trust him, both at managerial and organisational level. His team seems to be  in alignment with the planning and vision for the future, – within a context of various obstacles and a significant loss in the House of Representatives. Though discussions can be intense, – the President appears not to have  much difficulty rallying support from his own Cabinet for the same ongoing purposes. Both his ability to listen and his relaxed communication style (with a good sense of humour as well)  is able to ease tension or potential tension. This seems to apply as well with his working relationship with his military advisers and the CIA.

>POLITICAL SKILL<

Obviously President Obama has evidently very profound political skills which are hard to be argued. He is well able to balance  among political opponents. As the second phase of his Presidency will be different from the first, he has to continue to balance wisely between various dynamics until he is secured of his second term in Office. Consensus over reforming corporate taxes including some concessions, – and highlighting revenue issues are pending matters. The debt ceiling fight will be full on within the House of Representatives, with leadership at the centre of the direction to be taken.  The decision to be against any tax increases and support the Bush “things as they are” on tax cuts will put more pressure on the debt ceiling, with a 14.4 trillion debt at present. President Obama is much aware of this and politically balancing through the economic pressures, – he seems to reveal himself as both the defender of sound and sober principles, where the Republicans have failed to come with a  helpful and united alternative. The President seems most pragmatic and is willing to take what he is able to get.

>INTELLECTUAL AND  EMOTIONAL  ABILITIES<

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The current 44th President proved very resourceful in sifting and selecting the required information for the effective use in his day-to-day activities. He operates from a sound belief system, well grounded in the contradictions of day-to-day reality. He is definitely able to relate to people from various classes and backgrounds, with effective emotional skills, – stable enough not to make similar errors as being made by some of his predecessors with the potential of embarrassment at the personal level. With both this balance of emotions, spirit and mind, – he is well positioned for the challenges in his position. He seems well-integrated at the “Centre of power”, cooperating wisely with both his Generals and CIA, – but not accepting inappropriate reflections or behaviour of any kind.

>LEADERSHIP<

To support the needs of US society and international developments,  the second term of President Obama – if reelected – will offer a sound base to provide more leadership than during his first term till so far. However he proved already a willingness to make tough decisions and the strength and decisiveness of leadership. The BP oil disaster nevertheless could have been taken up more proactively by accepting expertise abroad at an early stage. It is to early day to give a full assessment on this quality. Till so far he seems to be more a good person and a good politician with good intentions, – however the strength to unify the US over the edge of a further economic downfall and away from the pointless war in Afghanistan will test his skills to be the leader the US needs. The last  after the  previous Administration corrupting both the law and the US constitution in various incriminating ways, – apart from a total irresponsible way of overstretching the national budget with various war’s for the wrong reasons. This is the background  for the challenge in the hours of increasing heat which will enable steel to harden, but as the level of leadership may increase the level of personal danger may increase as well as the existing establishment is reluctant for the change being desired. Leaders following a line not in tune with the major background powers in the US are at risk of being assassinated, like this happened with President John F Kennedy in 1963.

>COURAGE<

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Ernest Hemingway described this once as: “Grace under pressure.”  The courage to stand up and to stand out at times of controversy were quite clear in 2008 when Senator Obama did raise the issue of race and religion as the 2 most toxic subjects in politics.  His ties to Mr Wright were put in the nations controversial racial history, which started with slavery and still continues today in the school achievement gap and ongoing discrimination between banking service and law enforcement. Courage whilst embracing the required actions on the needs for the future generation is a need for the person who fills the position of the US  “Commander-in-Chief”. The virtue of courage reflects on the spiritual capacity or integrity of the person being in charge, and this will prove even more to be within the domain of President Obama when circumstances will face him in the future in which he has to act, – and when times are more testing. This goes together with the quality of leadership.

As Robert Parry wrote on the 1st of May: >”No black man in the US who makes a serious run for the White House can be described as a coward or lacking guts.”- “He has taken on this role with full acceptance and knowledge of the risks. He is targeted by extremists, whilst living in the spotlight of the world with his family. Governing a nearly ungovernable country with the most obstructive House of Representatives, – left with a legacy of the worst economy of the century in the US.”

Indeed, – much of the criticism is profoundly undeserved and whatever happens President Obama keeps his smile and correct approach. President Lincoln went through the scrutiny of criticism and has been perceived in retrospect as one of the greatest Presidents the US ever had.

Likewise if President Barack Obama will be reelected and push forward the concept of social justice and a “More Perfect Union”, together with the required economic reforms – against the testing times of pending  increasing international political tensions  – he has the potential the be seen in retrospect as the first African-American President who made a real difference, at a time this was really required for both the US and the world.

From my point of view he is the best US President since JFK with perhaps slightly more favourable personal dimensions. He has the capacity to reach far beyond his current dimensions, depending on time and opportunity.

History will tell!

Thank you!
 Paul 

Paul Alexander

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/