Tag Archives: Iraq

A Collision Course in Europe and the US with Russia?‏ – What is the real Crisis?


Air strike in Kobani An air strike in Kobani, Syria, in October. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

 

 

 

“United we stand; divided we fall.”
Aesop

It would seem  the world is facing a critical number of security issues at similar time, the last which is part of the reason for the 28-nation meeting in Newport (Wales) this week. As part of the military alliance heads of state including US President Barack Obama will express their views on the situation in both Iraq and Syria, with the profound dangers of ISIS at this stage, increasing concerns on e.g cyber threats, issues in the South Chinese Sea what may be called territorial disputes and others. However the meeting is most likely to be dominated on the Ukraine crisis with the question as how far to take matters  in support of Ukraine against Russia challenging the political integrity of this nation, – the last by backing separatist fighter in Ukraine at a scale increasing over the last weeks.

Ukraine’s government in Kiev alleges with NATO support – which Moscow denies – that Russian troops are being actively deployed in the east and south of the country, this with the risk  of direct military conflict between the two nations with the potential of both NATO and the USA being pulled in.


The biggest challenge for NATO and the US is to balance both the pressure  but also providing Russia a gracious exit as one unbalanced step too far may trigger an escalating point of no return. Hence strategic discussions being more import than putting out fires. The crux will be NATO’s Clause nr 5 which says an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all members. Ukraine now is a “partner” but not an official member but it is anticipated that Ukraine will seek full NATO membership, which might be the desire of the Baltic states as well.


The US will needless to say reaffirm it’s commitment to NATO’s Clause 5. The problems as a result of this at the moment is as important as the response on the problems being faced. It’s a critical issue where Russia,  and both NATO &  US face each other “in the eye” on either compromise or an escalating devastating conflict. History learnt us that both past crisis around Berlin and Cuba had somehow a “last minute escape” from irreversible confrontation, and it is within reason to suspect that both US and Russia may come up with a solution reached under pressure amidst the risk of spiralling conflict.


One may look at the old Greek as how to face this in a broader context and it was Aesop who once said: “Lay not the blame on me, O sailor, but on the winds. By nature I am as calm and safe as the land itself, but the winds fall upon me with their gusts and gales, and lash me into a fury that is not natural to me.”..

In passing, this is what applies somehow to both parties in the current conflict. The “wind” is an unpredictable force and the “fury” of conflict could be immense. What Aesop says further is interesting as well and reflects some applicable wisdom:  “The north wind and the sun were disputing which was the stronger, and agreed to acknowledge as the victor whichever of them could strip a traveller of his clothing. The wind tried first. But its violent gusts only made the man hold his clothes tightly around him, and when it blew harder still the cold made him so uncomfortable that he put on an extra wrap. Eventually the wind got tired of it and handed him over to the sun. The sun shone first with moderate warmth, which made the man take off his topcoat. Then it blazed fiercely, till, unable to stand the heat, he stripped and went off to a bathe in a nearby river”…..Persuasion is more effective than force! –The question in Europe is how, how to do this as effective as possible without errors in calculation.

It is safe to say that it is sound to use pressure to prevent conflict but utter isolation may provoke war, this to  be considered as one of the learning experiences from both the processes leading up to both the 1st and 2nd world war. Obviously  Germany was both responsible for the start of both war’s but the Dual-Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary made the Russians feel threatened, and as a response they joined a Rival-Alliance with France. This put Germany in a position of threatening peace in Europe, which may have provoked the First World War. It should be noted that Rival-Alliances should not be aimed to put Russia in a spot they see no way out despite their errors of judgement. Perhaps they already don’t see a way out, it’s hard to assess.

Furthermore, coming back on history and the dynamics before the 2nd world war, –  the Treaty of Versailles triggered strong currents of deeply felt cultural dissatisfaction in Weimar Germany, responsible perhaps for a climate in which Adolf Hitler was perceived by the Germans as the answer on their grievances, – not knowing what the man was lying ahead. We know from President Putin that he is prepared to “play hard ball” but not at all costs and he may have his assessment “on the West” ready.



Coming back to Aesop, who said (perhaps) at the personal level: “Once upon a time all the rivers combined to protest against the action of the sea in making their waters salt. “When we come to you,” said they to the sea, “we are sweet and drinkable; but when once we have mingled with you, our waters become as briny and unpalatable as your own.” The sea replied shortly, “Keep away from me, and you’ll remain sweet.”……. In other words within the current European scenario stick to your own country and your country will stick to you.  “Keep your place in life and your place will keep you”. The perceptions Of President Putin are clearly different than US President Obama and whilst Ukraine has its own autonomy, Putin still considers somehow Ukraine as the backyard of Russia, the previous USSR. Increasing connections at military level between Europe and Ukraine are considered by Russia as a security risk.

Prejudices work both ways and conversance in sustained ways may soften the views from bilateral perspectives with an understanding that since the fall of the USSR the underlying Russian current is with an intended reclaiming of Ukraine now, it may strengthen its position against an increasing NATO alliance where the US keeps a strong foothold.  If the Ukraine crisis may be considered as the symptom of a disease, one need to avoid a remedy which is worse than this disease. At the end of the day the US has had a history in both Vietnam, invading Iraq and Afghanistan (which could have been dealt with differently) and on which the mixed after effects are visible . In Iraq more dangerous than ever before with the rise of ISIS. The Russian leadership out of security reasons may perceive to have the same rights as the US where it comes to invading countries if the last fits a “security strategy”, – hence the dynamics being dangerous as due to a risk that both super powers are not willing to back down. Obviously every nation has a right to exist and Ukraine is no exception on this but history learns that in many occasions this is not a point of fact. The question is whether Russia has perceived both increasing NATO influence in Europe, supported by the US, as a threat for its national security and if this is the case whether this could have been avoided and whether those perceptions can be reversed. Hard to say at this stage but once the trigger for this change of direction can be found, knowing that it is not in Russia’s interest to be isolated, efforts can be made to wind down this process ultimately leading to forces within Russia to restore the old status quo of the USSR. As such Russia is better part of Europe , participating like eg Germany does in constructive ways, – and not being a frustrated isolated and destructive force outside Europe with different perceptions on national security and increasing antagonism with “the West”.

Every conflict requires its unique response and in Europe applies that it is important to take care that by preventing one evil, one may not fall in a far greater evil. And being in the process to try to bend Russia from its way “in”, it should not break it whilst seeking a way “out”.  National pride might be for some part at the root of  domestic perceptions and one needs to be careful not to break this pride by not playing a good card (the sanctions) far too often without a convenient way out for the other party. Losing national dignity at this level comes at a price of wrong chosen liberty with the conviction the battle is won by the strong. The last which is not always true as an unexpected poisonous bite, as part of a pointless tit for tat strategy without sustained “face to face discussions”, could make the shortcut on success a failure on the long term. The art of crisis management is to create a new reciprocal bond to prevent issues like this in the future, and Russia needs to be included in such bond if it seeks a way out. Russia is somehow cornered and the dynamics for constructive dialogue are by far not ideal anymore. Partners are able to reason but both the US and Russia are not seen to be partners anymore, if they ever were. They were closing in at some stage, however the relationship is worse than almost ever before since the Cuban missile crisis where the US did not tolerate Russian supported nuclear missiles on Cuba.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov  said Monday that his country’s military would not interfere with the situation in Ukraine and that he stood ready to “converse” with the West to reach a peaceful settlement to the crisis there. This gesture was supposed  to be embraced within the pending NATO conference in Wales with genuine creativity rather than increasing tensions and new potential sanctions. It would seem Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling on Ukraine to start talks on a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.  Putin said Ukraine should “hold substantive, meaningful talks, not about technical issues but about the question of the political organization of society and statehood in southeast Ukraine, with the goal of safeguarding the legitimate interests of those people who live there.”


NATO meanwhile claims there are at least 1,000 Russian troops in Ukraine and the EU is giving Russia a one-week ultimatum to scale back its intervention in Ukraine or face more economic sanctions. The question is how strong are both the words and the actions in a situation which has deteriorated the last couple of months with high level propaganda in the media, not to speak about the Malaysian plane being shot down in the airspace of Ukraine held territory by pro-Russian separatists. The last a most tragic and dramatic error of calculation in a real war zone.


The conduct of public business in politics has an obligation to preserve peace at all costs and not running the pathway of an unavoidable collusion by lack of diplomatic creativity and discernment. Every man of his nation should be a man of his time as well. A high measure of public service needs to be seen in light of pure principle centred leadership rather than cutting corners with each other on false propaganda. We are living in a time we  neither can afford ignorance to the past, nor to the present , nor to the future, – and those in public office at the critical moment of decision making now need to be aware of the huge responsibilities to future generations, superseding national interest and national security issues in some aspects , but not at a cost of the real dangers of our time. The last, and the real ones,  which seems to find its manifestation in eg Iraq and Syria at the moment. Hence reason enough to find a bilateral satisfactory solution in Europe as if Ukraine would be considered to be a partner in NATO why not as well Russia, – provided they solve their conflicts in a peaceful way, with an immediate cessation of all sanctions after such agreement. Lets put it this way, there are far more important issues to solve at this very present moment and it is most important not to get into inflated “Cold War” dynamics from the past. Leaders allowing this to happen with the backing of their own military advisers would do better to look beyond this with a clearer picture in mind to find a settlement which fits all parties, – as such preventing both pointless and repetitive patterns  in history.

We need to strive to make others see that those matters in both Iraq and Syria are the real issues and avoid an escalating conflict in Europe. Peace among more unified civilised nations is the most important issue on earth otherwise we may be the victim of the widespread violence of seriously uncivilised and brutal forces, – plenty enough here on earth. It’s the kind of peace which makes life worth living and this peace is under threat from far more greater and spreading dangers than we see now, which is the reason we need to reconcile our differences on the issues where we are able do this by reasoning and making deals. The new face of potential all out war, this time in Europe again,  may have life ending implications as such war once started can’t be controlled anymore. Such war can only destroy and never create and serious errors on misjudgment on reciprocal abilities to reason out conflict as part of a multilateral security arrangement in which Russia is involved as well is more effective than sanctions from the West, and Russia reminding the world that they still have one of the most advanced nuclear arsenals. It needs to be understood that Russia has a historical fear with roots to the second world war, and the existing military pacts are coming too close to Russia, – in their perception. The point is that perceptions not being changed by the reality of “inclusion” may lead to self-fulfilling perceptions and possibly war like we have seen under different dynamics in both the lead up to the 1st and 2nd world war.


Both Russia and NATO & the US need to speak in rational terms on the legitimate future of Ukraine with greater reference to the grave dangers in both Iraq and Syria, which is a task of civilised nations. This is not allowed to fall on deaf ears as history will judge those who make decisions in the present on how it worked out in the future. The option to help Russia on a more enlightened attitude towards Ukraine as part of a trade off deal can’t be missed. War is not inevitable among civilised nations but violence at larger than expected scale is inevitable from existing and spreading groups in both Syria and Iraq. We can be as big as we want as a human species but not in harmony with fast spreading evil who may destroy all human dignity on the places where they are allowed to spread their toxins by death, mutilation or worse.

Only the sum of many acts and the sum of the efforts of all civilised nations is able to turn the tide by destroying ISIS and their efforts to create an Islāmic state in Syria and Iraq.

To preserve  peace and avoid the threats of war will be a challenge for each generation anew in different identities and requires now to make a united stance against increasing sectarian violence across the borders of inflated perceptions on those which were earlier considered to be opponents. Relations between nations with frictions on relatively trivial issues need to change and new bonds need to be created against the greater dangers of our time. Communication  should be more than an exchange of threats and sanctions, where the options of a mature dialogue on the broader perspectives from both sides, including the anxieties from both sides, are not fully explored. And the last applies to the current issues in Europe where the risk is that people get too much fixed on their opinions, not always based on the facts. No nation suffered more on the battlefield of war than Russia during the 2nd world war and an increasing united alliance against it’s own state, including former parts of the USSR are perceived as a danger on their part. Reaching out in inclusive diplomacy may help a new bond. The last not being based anymore on underlying historic and  persistent ancient historic for a potential new menace,  from both sides however.

All what world powers have worked for could be destroyed in the devastation of war in the first 24 hours, giving way to the sectarian violence which will be the fruit of those endeavours if life proves still to be possible in some parts of the world.


Therefore I tend to say that nations in Europe and particular Russia need to evaluate their position to the long term desired dynamics and both Europe and the US need to help Russia a way out amidst the rumbling background powers this country has in terms of extreme dynamics, like the US has the same  in its own backyard, – all hard to balance. Certain buttons are not supposed to be pushed too hard where the other party has not a favourable image anymore. We know from both Russia and the US that there are mighty background powers, not to be under estimated, and when both the US President and the Russian President are unable to make a deal being satisfactory and long lasting, the background powers pushing for potential confrontation will get stronger.

The answer is to continue to reach out and look at long-term strategies to form new bonds based on different foundations than in the past, where the last is possible.


Massive amounts of money being spent on modernising the capacity for multilateral destruction is better spent on the common enemies we have, including terrorism, the last increasingly advanced, – but besides this a more unified struggle against the  roots of evil and hatred against humankind. At the end of the day violence breeds violence as a self-fulfilling prophecy and in our hands with God’s help lies the seed to unwind this ongoing process of what we may call a  self-destructive trait of humankind, – never ever solved since the creation of human beings.


We now have to avoid a remedy which is worse than “the disease” and too often in history it proved  we did do the last the last bit rather than the first one.  Whilst change of habit can’t change the nature of people, –  changing the nature of our response might change the habit and might change our culture, – the last which we need to watch closely  in our decision-making  at times of crisis.

For sure  we are lacking many answers but this is this is the  last option we have.


Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

>>>>
 

The wider implications of the Syrian drama


A mural in Iran showing the yellow Hezbollah f...
A mural in Iran showing the yellow Hezbollah flag, and a quote from Ayatollah Khomeini which says: “Israel must be destroyed.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What started some 2 years ago in Syria as a protest movement against a brutal oppressive regime is now an uprising of spiralling war between various fractions, potentially dragging a whole region in a whirlpool of vicious violence.

What started 2 years ago as a struggle for justice being compromised became a sad time for justice.

In Syria this became a lost case of criminal justice.

It’s a sad time as well for peace in the Middle East as  risky are the dynamics for escalating violence with plenty of stakeholders holding different agenda’s, – all in a position to commit or to refrain from the threat of further escalation. Plenty of stakeholders being able to make either the choice or resist the choice to throw oil on a fire of existing violence between a Sunni – dominated opposition and the al – Assad regime supported Alawite’s, – an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Related image
It’s now a most dangerous and potential explosive situation as the playground of the dynamics are part of the playground of regional powers. Powers not being ready to give up the status quo on influence by terror. Terror by infiltration and supplying missiles to areas where they should not be, as the use of those missiles could put the region on fire.
Moderates have been pushed to the sideline and there is no leadership among the fractions with only sectarian horror to evolve. Massacres against the Sunni communities likely to happen if the Syrian government army is able to capture these areas with families including women and children being executed.
It happens as it already happened.
It would not seem this conflict has anything to do with Islam and actually the dynamics are opposing Islam as a religion as massacres and murder of innocent people by those countries calling themselves Islāmic by faith are repugnant in the view of real Muslims.  Islam only by virtue of its wide extension can be called a world-religion, – but for some groups it never reached  the required spiritual level because it never produced a workable thinking, which includes workable action  on both the world and humanity. The last at a depths required to bring both civilisation and respect for life in the hearts of its people.
There where religion is unable to achieve this, it is failing, – not because of the religion but because of the people who practice their religion. Where we don’t learn from the vanity of our false distinctions, even where it involves religion with the wrong practical implications, our lives may be diminished to the perceptions that our neighbours are aliens .We then may live together in a region but are not bound together as a community. We only then learn to live in fear with a wish to retreat from the people we perceive as our opponents, because they are different, – and our first instinct dictates then to meet disagreement with violence. This is what we see in the Middle East and elsewhere. And we know that there are no final answers but what we learn is not always the right learning if the common impulse is to meet disagreement with force. And if this carried  over to the children in the worst possible scenario’s encountered in the Middle East, the future of those who are to follow is more restricted with even more violence.
Related image
The mindless menace of violence in Syria is likely  overturning its borders and affecting those who live there as minorities. People butchered to death. The victims are young and old, known and unknown, Islamic and non-Islamic, but foremost they are people suffering from senseless acts of sectarian violence. Families disrupted in the pain of daily agony, not knowing who will be next. It’s the kind of violence which tears apart the fabric of life, which tears apart a country and the fabric of communities as part of barbaric  brutality which belongs actually to dark ages centuries ago. Civilian slaughter for the benefit of politics and holding on to power are one of the worst violations of human rights. Governments mastering this domain  will lose their cause and pay the price. The danger of the spiraling violence is that when you teach people to hate others and fear them because they are different in their beliefs, you teach them as well that they are a threat to you, and that  they may take your life or your freedom,  and a such the cycle of violence and hatred continues to do its evil and destructive work. It can only stop when people cease  to do this, when the actions of violence are terminated at such level that violence does not know how to move anymore. It’s then that we may realise that this short life on earth can neither be enriched by hatred nor by revenge.
Related image
Whilst Christians or Jews have neither been perfect through history, wisdom inspired by those of them who thought in depths about humanity and the world was rarely suppressed to support the status quo of the traditional views, – and progress was made through centuries. The last often recognised in retrospect. And still, even for Christians and Jews at times things are  hard going but civilisation became the cornerstone of the majority, – whilst reality shows that civilisation and respect for life is a lost avenue for some traditional Muslims in countries in the Middle East, – sticking to unchanged dogma’s. The last never been challenged on real merit and value for life as it was intended to be.
Related image
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth are not the means by which we need to live, and on all sides of the religious spectrum we are never told to do so. Those “who live by the sword will be killed by the sword”.
Some groups and possibly countries are on the verge of making things even more bitter than better in current Syria, based on the dividing thought that violence and cruelty serves the purpose of a united  or stable Syria, based possibly on a different concept of government. The killing fields of Cambodia would perhaps not be worse than those in Syria in such case, but the last may get worse if this current conflict would escalate across the borders of Syria.
Related image
Both scenario’s are not acceptable.
Whilst the people in both Cambodia and Vietnam are by nature friendly and forgiving on what has been done in the past, widening conflict in Syria would be neither forgiving nor forgetting as sectarian violence brings the worst out of people,  the last apart from the agenda’s from surrounding nations trying to capitalise on more influence, – especially Iran.
Related image
If the al- Assad regime would fall to the Sunni dominated opposition, – Iran could lose it’s link to Hezbollah in Lebanon and its power on the border with Israel. Not what they want.
Lebanon with it’s Shiite and Alawite majority (Muslim) sects which both do support the current Syrian al – Assad regime dominate the Lebanon’s government.
You see the frictions here.
Then we have Iraq with long standing tribal ties between Iraq’s Sunnis and Syria’s Sunnis, – many of which feeling oppressed by a non – Sunni Government with Iraq feeling the tensions of Syria’s conflict in its own country. Various bomb explosions have been in the news.  Sunni jihad with al Qaeda links likely being already active across both borders to fight the non Sunni government in Syria.
Related image
And then the country of Jordan  being burdened by some 1.5 million Syrian refugees with adversity leading to potential unrest in Jordan.
Turkey as a country as well similarly burdened by refugees flooding the country since the start of the uprise against the al- Assad regime, – Turkey obviously blaming the al-Assad regime for this. Besides this a pair of car bombs killing dozens of people in a Turkish town which had welcomed many Syrian refugees. A Marxist terror group being involved in those car bombs, a terror group with close links to Syrian’s intelligence service.
Related image
Other countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are backing the Syrian rebels  as they feel a Sunni government being installed in Syria would make the Gulf States more stable, as they fear the spread of Iran’s influence in the region.
For Israel finally it is felt to be important that the front group for Iran in Lebanon will be stopped as due to the increasing dangers with Iran’s infiltration via Hezbollah, the last supported by the Syrian regime. The Israeli‘s reluctant to get involved will  however at all cost prevent the transfer of modern missile systems to the al- Assad ally Hezbollah Shiite militia in Lebanon. Those missiles include Iranian made and upgraded Fateh -110 missiles with a range of 300 km. Whilst the Israelis and Hezbollah are not in direct conflict as yet, they may become more active on opposite sides in the Syrian conflict as due to the Iran – Hezbollah link. Israel will respond in no uncertain terms if the missile threat from the north is growing because Tehran is using Damascus to feed Lebanon with offensive weapons. Israel has deployed already two of its iron Dome missile-defence systems in its northern cities to combat potential missile and rocket attacks from which it is believed that Hezbollah has an arsenal of some 50000.
Related image
It’s a fragile balance on which it is assumed Syria has not the recourses to fight on two fronts. It’s for Israel a wait and see predicament as with weakening the Assad regime the potential strengthening of the rebel fraction such as the al-Nusra Front with al Qaeda links in Iraq may open a new spectrum of threats as this jihad group is highly organised. The question for Israel might be whether the Iran-Hezbollah link is more dangerous than the various rebel fractions being out of control as it would seem to be.
All in all “it’s a can of worms” with no end in sight as evil tends to spread rapidly with chaos the unfortunate outcome. Whilst Islam carries in itself greater ethical depth than it’s appearance would lead one to suppose, no great Islam leader has been able to speak out against all this. No Islamic nation has been able to lift the burden of traditional views  dominating the practical political implications of a nation’s direction slowly moving to war, by infiltration and ambition, – like Iran. No Islāmic nation being able to embrace both respect of culture and human rights has been able to make the al- Assad regime accountable for what it did to its own people, as the traditional and oppressive views are both dominated by Iran and Syria.
Both are major culprits of guided violence and oppression in the Middle East.
The sad thing is that apart from 70000 death inside Syria as result of the civil war, the conflict is reaching across the borders with even Russia getting involved. The last supporting the al – Assad regime.  An indication as well which way Russia is prepared to support, and one may assume lack of real consideration.
Related image
The US reluctant to get involved with US Secretary of State John Kerry emphasising the need for an international conference to be attended by both the Syrian government and opposition to prevent total chaos in Syria. However it is questionable whether this works when the al-Assad regime gets the backing of Russia.
At the same time there is a large inflow of weapons from various sides indicating that more people will be killed with no likely military outcome either side in the nearby future. Hezbollah dispatched some 4000 fighters to Syria to help the al-Assad regime. Rocket attacks from rebel forces into Lebanon against this Shiite militia.
Undeniable there is a huge risk of a most bloody sectarian warfare which will both involve Syria Lebanon and Iraq, – reducing the already compromised stability in the region.
With an increasing number of fighters from different countries going over Syria’s border to support one side or the other. Israel is on the alert to prevent Syrian forces to transport advanced missile systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon and if so required will conduct further airstrikes to prevent this happening out of fear that chemical warfare comes into the wrong hands with Israel being an easy target in such case. Syria’s most powerful ally Russia will deliver advances anti-aircraft missiles, indicating somehow to the West to stay out of Syria. The US supports politically the Syrian rebels with non – lethal aid whilst the Obama Administration refrains from providing military aid, – presumably concerned that the situation would then escalate. Meanwhile however intensifying diplomacy efforts to rescue the region from widespread conflict with international security and peace being at risk.
However this will not change the background role of Iran and Russia’s support for the al-Assad regime.
Related image
The divisions however among the opposition, but also among some of the al-Assad links are a stumbling block for effective negotiations anyhow. Whilst Russia with its al-Assad support makes it clear to the West to stay out of the area, they agree with the US on required diplomacy to prevent a worsening situation. It’s not in the international interest that the situation in Syria is escalating into a large regional war with the potential of an international war, – but at the same time both Russia and Iran prefer to keep the status quo with al-Assad being the main power in Syria. The implication of this includes Iran’s role of supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon will not be changing. This means that on the long term Iran wants to keep its spreading influence whilst heating up the Hezbollah and Israeli potential for conflict in Lebanon at a later date.
It’s hard to say what would be the preferred situation as the region is hanging together on unpredictability’s. For the Gulf States apply they want a reduction of Iran’s influence, as they fear the strength of Iran if it would come to a war. Iran will not make any major moves in this conflict as yet as it prefers to intervene at a stage when it could hit or affect Israel as well.
Strictly spoken and in general, Syria would be likely better off with a Sunni government as Iran would lose part of its power in Lebanon, the Gulf States would feel more safe, the power base of Hezbollah would be compromised with no links with the al-Assad regime anymore. However the question remains how much chaos Syria has to endure to make such a transition possible and how many more people will be killed on such a track. Sectarian violence and anarchy may lead to a more dire situation in which al-Qaeda links may get the better of the existing situation with even more senseless massacres and potential genocide amidst the rivalling sections.
The hard question is which sort of stability is desired at this very present moment. Arming the rebels by US legislation may inflict a strategic set back for Iran as due to the disruption of the terror line between Tehran and Hezbollah in Lebanon. However arming both fractions by either Russia  or US may inflict a terror war worse than the war in Somalia with the difference Somalia never had chemical weapons, the last being at risk coming into the wrong hands not bothered by the human suffering this could create.
Whilst there might be reason to intervene in Syria’s government initiated slaughter house, as part of humanitarian action, – the last would not be perceived this way by the many stakeholders with most different and foremost radical perceptions, often based on emotions. The most important thing is preventing a regional war at large scale as this is not a region receptive for reason.
The least of two evils seems to contain the existing evil preventing from spreading all out violence across the borders, but an al-Assad regime cornered with Iran at risk of losing influence may both be well able to accept all avenues to protect it’s powerbase and influence in the Middle East, and for this reason both the region and Israel are at risk for a new level of barbaric violence in the area.
Related image
With this in mind it is the duty of both the super powers being partly involved already, to contain this conflict and bring people to the negotiating table before matters get totally out of control. Failing this the US may reconsider its position as whilst US interests might not be directly at stake, the best possible humanitarian support needs to prevail in this unspeakable drama, – an obligation of moral proportions. Besides this it is up to the US to allow somehow now to be sidelined by both Russia and Iran perhaps, – awaiting conflict later down the track when Hezbollah supported by Iran will reorganise its forces in Lebanon. The last against Israel with both the al-Assad regime and Iran owing Hezbollah support, as Hezbollah supported al-Assad to stay in power,  – if dynamics would evolve this way. At that stage it would be hard for the US not to support Israel.
Finally, there is nothing to glorify in this world if we don’t get our baseline humanity right in the distinctions we make with each other. This may not apply to everybody as value systems are different. In general however at present it is a matter of watching the current dynamics in and around Syria closely as minor moves may have major implications in the positive or significant ramifications in the negative, –  depending on the choices being made. The last besides the human suffering as part of ongoing business in this part of the Middle East.
With a bit more empathy and lifting inflated dogmatic views lots can be gained. But lots can be lost as well.
In the final analysis, it is not the concern about any religion. It is the concern of human beings being tangled up in destructive believe systems leading to bitterness hatred and violence. At the end of the day in all of this we are faced with one of the most self-destructive dynamics here on earth, and where we are as civilisation able to relief this bit by bit we are on the right track, as life in a deeper sense does not expect us to do anything else. There where countries fail to put in the required thought on the value of life for its own citizens and make within this domain the wrong distinctions when it comes to maintaining power, – they are lost in their own advancement, and in the misfortunes of their own children being exposed to the worst examples of adults.
This is what we see over and over.
And therefore I repeat:
Related image
Where we don’t learn from the vanity of our false distinctions, even where it involves religion with the wrong practical implications, our lives may be diminished to the perceptions that our neighbours are aliens .We then may live together in a region but are not bound together as a community. We then only learn to live in fear with a wish to retreat from the people we perceive as our opponents, because they are different, – and our first instinct dictates then to meet disagreement with violence. This is what we see in the Middle East and elsewhere. And we know that there are no final answers but what we learn is not always the right learning if the common impulse is to meet disagreement with force, and if this is what we carry over to the children in the worst scenario’s encountered in the Middle East, – we face a lost generation there, with worse to come.
As Martin Luther King ,Jr once said:  “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.”
Related image
The crux lies in the method!
Thanks!
—-

 

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.

Related image

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.

Related image

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.

Related image

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.

Related image

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.

Related image

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<

Related image

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<

Related image

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<

Related image

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<

Related image

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<

Related image

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/

Let’s take the torch forward


English: Posthumous official presidential port...
English: Posthumous official presidential portrait of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, painted by Aaron Shikler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Good evening – or good morning – wherever you are at this hour.

Wherever you might be in your life, or wherever you will be in the future, – the future being the most important thing for all of usThe future we all cherish, – if we still have dreams or things to do.

The future which lives in us, – and we live in this future. A future still in which we are able to live our dreams and desires for a better world.

Image result for best picture for better world

The future is important for us because in the future lies our growth.

The growth which we all cherish for ourselves and for our children.

A future which will be the result of the decisions we make, either as persons, or as a people, – as citizens of the world.

What sort of future do we seek and what sort of world do we have?

Is what we see a world only of conflicting national interests and international fear, on a planet which bears the burden of increasing environmental degradation, – increasing disasters of nature and the risk of war?

Image result for best picture conflicting national interests

Is what we see only perhaps ourselves, trying to keep up with day-to-day life, finding a job , keeping a job and push as hard as possible to live the life we want to live for ourselves and our family?

A world of hope perhaps, – despite the enormity of sorrow?  A world with a future, despite agonising questions about both the past and the present? – –

Whatever the way we live and in whatever circumstances we are, there is still a world with opportunities,  if we are able to decide to live up to that future and face the questions as they are, – find the answers and actions which we need. The questions, answers and actions of our time, – as one global community.

A future in which we hope to survive the challenges which we face today, in our time, and for all times. Not only for this generation, but for all generations. For our children and their children. Long after we have gone ourselves.

Image result for best images  we hope to survive the challenges

In our days as a human race, we need to be remembered not for the victory of wars, but for the victory of the human spirit, which dictates us to show our common humanity at all corners of the world.

Is this our quest for peace?

It is my wish to discuss some of the major challenges of our time, – the potential events we face as a people on this planet.  A pathway perhaps to take the torch forward to a new birth of freedom, – for all those people who seek this freedom and this peace, – unwilling as well to sacrifice the future of this world on the altar of increasing nuclear threat or war. War either by miscalculation or misinterpretation the nature of people, or disaster by underestimating the force of nature itself.

Image result for best images of new birth of freedom

Let everybody know that in the long history of the world, we are still embattled in the search for this new birth of freedom, based on the perils of liberty and a free choice. Based as well on the examples of people who lived before us. Based on the aftermath of many wars,  and captured in the spirit of hope to live up to the standards and obligations of  this freedom. Freedom which looks to the future with responsibility, based on conscious, –  but knowing that human nature is neither perfect, nor will it ever be.

Many pointless wars have been endured and will again happen all over the world. Many families and soldiers still traumatized as a result of often ill selected battle fields, wherever they took place, wherever they may take place. Many people having to face death going to war, and if they survive  – having to face what died in their heart and their personal lives, as the human spirit does neither cope with e.g. the past killing fields in Vietnam & Cambodia,-  neither will it cope with the potential of mass destruction in the Middle East or anywhere else on this world.

Image result for best images of new birth of freedom

This will be our fate and that of our children, if the means by which we are able to fight wars are not extinguished from earth, or from our decisions to fight those wars. Too many countries with irrational leaders have potential access to nuclear energy, and may opt to set fire to this world.

War itself in some occasions might a necessary evil where the liberties of the free world are at stake, as happened e.g. in the 2nd World War. However, more and more is required to secure all efforts to reverse at an early stage the processes leading up to war, – as war with the long-lasting destruction ability as we have now –  neither predictable nor controllable when it starts – is no longer a rational alternative, – as President John F Kennedy once said.

Image result for best images of dedicated to the unfinished task

It is for us the living,  dedicated to the unfinished task of others and dedicated to the outstanding task still remaining,  to make our time a better time and to make our world a better place. To make our world a better and safer place to live, as there are conditions and circumstances on this planet of far more importance than the strict national interests as defined within the perceptions of existing nations. We need to shift the perceptions on the world as it developed in the last decades, to one of harmonising our global interest with our national interest, and educate the leaders of UN member states – mixed as the interests are – to do the same. To shift towards a global awareness on what is really important to survive together as a global community, interdependent as we are.

At the end of the day we are not only a world of Christians, Muslims or Jews. We are not a world of blacks and whites, but we are a world of people with similar needs, occupying the same planet, having the same right on some space to live, the same right on food and water. We are all breathing the same air, and we all mortal and fragile in our basic humanity.

Image result for best images of We are all breathing the same air, and we all mortal and fragile

All of us – at some stage – will be struggling with disease, – physical and mental decline, – and many of us will be affected by the increasing agony of our environmental degradation, including the disasters of nature, –  of any kind.

There is too much to say and far more to add.

But blessed are those people who are the peace keepers in this world, – those politicians as well, who affirm to peace and shy away from military confrontation, but stick however to the principles of finding solutions for both national and international problems.

Those principles do not only include solutions for both the roots of hatred and violence on this globe, but help to erode the barriers from past generations, and give new directions for different ways – and old perceptions to change. Those principles include the use in this generation of different and new requirements, adapted to the needs of tomorrow. The last not only as part of our national interest, but foremost as part of our global interest. Not only as part of the interest of our own environment, but as part of the interest of our global environment, which does not allow anymore to cut corners for the benefit of those who suffer the least.

Image result for best images of blessed are those people who are the peacekeepers

We have to carry forward the torch of the legacy of some  forebears, who stood for the same principles, who stood their ground – with this hope – and with this spirit – and we have to  renew this spirit in our time and for all times, within the endeavours for this generation and all generations.  The torch of protecting humanity at all corners of the earth.

Tyranny, poverty, disease and the prospect of war itself are the great challenges of our time. Where civilization does not succeed in the battle with those challenges, those challenges will succeed the battle to end the prospect of life on earth. As free people we end up with the last choice. As free people we may decide and if we  do not decide properly, our learning –together with our freedom will be in vain.

In too many cities and countries around the world, peace is not secure, because the obligations of freedom and a free choice are not fulfilled.

It is fair to say that in the world of today, still at least half of its population lives amidst the chains of poverty and disease, and many are the slaves of some of the so-called modern dictators – those who violate their conscious and their Creator – , those who are the champions of oppression, the jailers of freedom and the enemies of the free spirit of man. They include those people who make human rights abuses their business, the business of human trafficking included.

Divided we often are, united we can be– united in our efforts to ease the burdens of those who are born in the millions of families without the prospect of living in peace and proper education. Those families all over the world, often in conditions of war , and many of those people now the  new generation of refugees, always on the move from one place to the other. Homeless, in either their own or different countries. Not only as a result of war yesterday but as a result of climate change and other things “tomorrow”,  –  increasing sea levels and other disasters of nature.

Image result for best images of Divided we often are, united we can be

I think we should not simply add a new chapter to the misery of mankind, but write a new story on  the prospect of different frontiers in the history of humanity. And write this story in the hearts and the minds of people all over the world. A frontier which proclaims to protect life on earth and dictates wisdom in the use of our energies. A frontier which may reach all corners of this planet, if we decide to commit and not to compromise, – compromised as we often are..

Let it be said that when  we have the means to reach the moon, and save no cost to get this right, – or save no cost to fight the wars we should not fight, – we could change history by spending most of the required resources in building factories of hope for those who deserve it most. Not only in the countries of the rich, but together as well in the countries of the poor.

I think as  free citizens of this world, we need increasingly ask what to do about our global interest, because with the historic endeavours  we face to overcome the obstacles which will challenge our life in the next 20 years – united only our planet will survive with us – and we shall survive with our planet.

I think that on the mountains of civilization, we must put an end to the valleys of war and terror, before  war and terror may end the high ground of civilization.  If we don’t learn the lessons from history of too many wars and its potential destruction in the world of today, by not changing our thoughts on our culture, on real progress to make, – the history book of our culture and all cultures is closing in to an end.

However, rather than the terror of tyranny being allowed infiltrating the liberties of free man, let free man all together restrict the limitations of the tyranny from terror, wherever on this planet, whenever it strikes again!

Image result for best images of  before  war and terror may end  civilization.

Where nations fail to act on the misery created or provoked in neighbouring countries, either by war or by the forces of nature, – they are collective responsible for the suffering of human beings.

Young citizens of this world without hope or education easily follow the recruitment steps of terrorists, with hatred among the domain of the living, and either violence or death within the targets of their armed domains.  We know what they can do, – we don’t know what they may do.

Still too many people enjoy the comfort of ill-founded opinions and not the discomfort of their inner thoughts which could be the motor of change, and part of our education needs to provoke our real thoughts about the future of our world, and the contributions we are able to make as simple human beings.

All people on this planet have the right to live within liberty and dignity for each other. We can’t turn back from this pledge at this stage for the world, without compromising the spirit of humanity, wherever country we may live.

We can’t turn away with so so many children to educate, so many families and jobs to protect, so many dispossessed people to care for, and so many economic and environmental problems to solve.  So much to deal with as well in terms of urban and rural poverty, and so many reconstruction to prepare for.

Image result for best images for education being the key

Both the material and immaterial costs of war and preparing for it will create and contribute to increasing problems of instability, the misery of refugees, lasting terror, ethnic conflicts, increasing global financial crisis, – whilst there need to be still the resources for justified wars like the war against all this kind of poverty, the war against disease and the war against the disasters of nature and terror.

Let it be said that if we don’t put an end to the roots of terror and it’s ghetto’s, the ghetto’s of terror will worsen the risk of conflict at international level, – with potentially more people to be killed and incinerated in the fires of a nuclear encounter than at any time in the history of humankind.

I think where poverty more often creates the prospect of terror, we need to defeat the prospect of the worst poverty, as this is neither the domain of our humanity, nor the domain of real freedom and responsibility.

Where international misunderstanding and misalignment may put an end to mankind let it be proclaimed that humanity first and forever must put an end to international misunderstanding and misalignment, by principle centred leadership. The last which needs to be encouraged all over the world.

We faced many changes in history.

Production and industry changed and evolved. It shifted to highly qualified manufacturing and advanced service industries. We left the Industrial Age behind, but still follow the perceptions of the Industrial Age model in too many business entities, where people are “a cost” , and not an asset in an age of knowledge workers.

There is and has been an oversupply of workers at the lower end of the economy. Quite a number of those people ended in cheap labour at the bottom end of the income scale, not only in Europe or the US, but in other countries as well, where companies with their production lines and policies, shifted their lines of production to those areas overseas where the cheapest labour was possible.

I think we need to get a practical and principle centred approach where no one injustice, however grave, is above all others, and this approach needs to start in all communities where people prefer justice rather than injustice, where people prefer real communities rather than ghetto’s, whether they are the ghetto’s of the rich or the ghetto’s of the poor, as many ghetto’s there are..

Image result for best images for  no one injustice, however grave, is above all others,

We live in a world where power decides outcomes and our approach needs to be practical based, on the moral realities and possibilities of our position to move things in the right direction. If we decide our direction with wisdom and restraint for the benefit of humanity, we may change the many imperfections from yesterday for at least some improvements tomorrow.

We know that the ark of Noah was not built on its own. Neither any major accomplishment was the work of one person. In the world of today we are more dependent on each other than ever before.

Image result for best images for the ark of Noah was not built on its own.

We know as well that there are countries where people have no moral principles anymore. Principles to lift the darkness of their own conscious and attitudes.  More often  those people have seen too much violence, too much hatred, too much corruption and the worst examples of human living.  This only contributes to the imperfection of human nature and is not allowed to get into the mainstream of civilisation, as such cancer could destroy civilisation.

We are all mortal and have no permanent ownership on anything of this earth. However if one country denies an other country to exist and aims to prepare arms to destroy the other, the international community needs to cage this poison, before its venom may poison the region into the bitterness of death, – and the age into nuclear destruction.

And so, fellow citizens all over the world – our international obligation is not an obligation to bear nuclear arms, though arms we need, not an obligation to battle, though history faced us with battle, – but an obligation to struggle the battle of humanity for a better world, – to struggle and overcome the spirit of darkness in our time, which includes poverty, tyranny, disease, widespread global crime and corruption, the risk of self-inflicted ecological disaster, increasing disasters of nature, hyper consumption, – and finally war itself.

Image result for best images for the struggle  for a better world

We face global warming and our long-term sustainability is limited. We need to find new solutions for world water resources and end international water disputes, – we need to share our resources of knowledge and keep together the Oceans clean.

We need to make united efforts to protect habitats in danger, as on the long run increasing habitats in danger may endanger humans as well.

We tend to use unsustainable natural resources and with the growing global population we may have run out by 2075.  The choice to go nuclear in our energy supply by the so-called modern nuclear plants may evolve on a more global base, with ramifications often poorly understood at present.

Where the spirit of human kind is not ready yet for an enduring international peace, there is little room to increase the dimensions of nuclear energy. What is for peaceful use today, can be used for nuclear warheads tomorrow. Besides this the risk of radiation in even the best equipped powerplants are subject to failure if the unexpected strikes, either by nature war or terror.

Image result for best images for nuclear proliferation

Some would say , and with justification, that our market forces operated across the global economy are potential most volatile and often irrational, – with strong fluctuating oil prices. Energy security is a matter of ongoing concern. Countries depending on eg gas from Russia and the Ukraine, as due to changing prices, may feel inclined to use eventually increasing nuclear power, – which will be  subject to widespread  suspicion as due to the potential on less peaceful use.

Under the “Kyoto Agreement “all EU countries are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but with the lack of renewable energy sources more countries will use the new generation of Nuclear Power Stations, not only in Eastern Europe, but across the Middle East as well. Hence the united efforts to make the world a safe environment, and cut the potential of this power being used for destructive forces of any kind. Even conventional wars in countries possessing nuclear power plants, where such power plants are either damaged or destroyed, may give radiation ramifications far worse than the Chernobyl disaster  where those nuclear power plants become a target.

Going increasing nuclear in our energy supply will give the wrong message and is in a way cutting corners in terms of safety of our environment, at a significant cost of the next generations.

We face an increasing hungry planet with worldwide between 800 and 850 million people suffering from hunger, and widespread malnutrition in Asia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Tajikistan and North Korea, – some countries with a long history of civil conflict. 

Image result for best images for hungry planet

It is well-known that the problems of Africa have enormous proportions, where most problems are rather political than environmental. Global rates of malnutrition are overwhelming. Somalia almost ceased to exist as due to hunger, nearly similar with Nigeria – the last by some considered as being the most corrupt country of the world. Of the world’s 50 poorest countries, 34 are in Africa, all of them with high HIV rates.

This is grossly our world in a nutshell – and there is far more than this.

Where East and West do meet in conscious and with purpose, with the required discipline passion and vision, there will be ultimately peace and shared resources of wisdom to solve the problems of this earth.

There where East and West meet at evil’s end, – there will be war and destruction, without the required resources to repair at any stage the global problems we may face in the aftermath.

Where the Assembly of the United Nations often appears not being effective enough in finding a common approach for resolving both the problems of the tyranny of poverty and the poverty of tyranny, this is mainly due to insufficient moral leadership of some of the membership countries.

Our global interests requires vigorously enforced non nuclear proliferation , supported by all nations on the earth. And those countries behaving outside such treaty, losing their credibility and provoking a nuclear or biochemical threat to others, – ultimately need to be caged with force if so required. The attitudes from yesterday are not the ethics for tomorrow, in which we face the world today.

Image result for best images for biochemical warfare

Our highest achievement is the preservation and cultivation of life, where this appears possible. If moral leadership is the core of our aspirations, responsibility at a global perspective will lift the world and will ease the burden of our planet, but not without national and international law enforcement.

Let everybody know that if we don’t erode old barriers, old barriers will erode us.

Let us not allow that any person or country destroys the idea of a new and better world, neither by violence nor war. Neither by living nor death. Neither by the mountains of our obstacles nor by the valleys of our despair, when we face what we have to face – to make responsible freedom come true..

And so we have no choice than to carry forward this torch. To carry forward and  set ourselves free from the slavery of the past, whether it is the slavery of the dictator or the slavery of our own thoughts, the slavery to either inflated perceptions or poverty at heart.

And so we may ask every day for the best possible perceptions. The best possible perceptions at any time we face, for both the better and the worse. For both the world in us and the world around us.

And then we may say: we are free, – free at last!!

Image result for best images for we are free, - free at last!!

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

 –

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

 https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/the-art-of-leadership-and-lessons-from-the-past-gandhi/