Tag Archives: Obama

Both International And National Security Starts At Home – US in the picture.


The Peacemakers.

“I have not seen anywhere else in the world a gun lobby that has the same level of influence on its own government as the NRA does in the United States.”    –Andrew Feinstein.

“I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of insidious forces working from within.” – Douglas MacArthur.

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all” – John F. Kennedy

The topic for today is the importance  of both increased national and international security and the nature of leadership we need in a changing world. However the focus will be on the first one, with an example of things starting at home in the US. Both with proper legislation and law enforcement within the domain and control  of US Congress. The US here is just an example and different examples do exist all over the world.

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When times are economical challenging, foreign policy matters are rarely the topic of discussion. But in recent weeks issues on both foreign policy and security worked their way up within the public domain of attention.

During the crisis with North Korea in which China played for certain a role of influence for the better, – we had first the Boston Marathon bombings with the related questions about terrorist connections.  This is relatively a new element that from areas where you don’t expect it, people find their way on US ground and evolve in personalities able to prepare bombs with the intention to kill indiscriminately. And so they did, as others may do again anywhere.  Both inside the US and outside the US.

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Whilst the airliner plot over the Atlantic and  World Trade Centre attacks are unlikely to happen anymore in the identity as they evolved, – the prospect of terror from a different kind seems to be more of an issue in the future.

It is terror of a different kind than 9/11. But it is the terror on top of increased gun violence in the US anyway, and from both sides of the spectrum there is easy access to guns, assault weapons and other tools to inflict destruction.

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It’s a warning that dynamics in society are changing and that we need to be mindful of the fact that we are simply not ready for this.

Proper legislation in line with the spirit of our time and similar law enforcement need to be in place.  This being prepared in a proactive way by anticipation on the dynamics in society.

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Within those recent dynamics in the US the civil war in Syria did break the news with a high index of suspicion of chemical warfare being used against the opposition in Syria. This followed by an Israeli bombing near Damascus to prevent the transport of missiles and chemical weapons close to the borders of Israel.

At the same time Congressional hearings in the US provided more detail about what happened in Libya when the US ambassador Christopher Stevens and other Americans were murdered during a terrorist attack. Lacking the total picture, some Republicans claim that the White House should be held responsible for either insufficient protection or misleading information.  It would seem that the dynamics within the domain of some Republican members of US Congress go that far that they would like any effort to try to impeach President Obama on this issue, if they could.  A reflection of a “House Divided” where some members of this honourable branch of Government lost touch with both reality and the priorities of this country.

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It illustrates the dangerous paradox in this country, the downfall of democracy when Congress is misaligned on some major topics and obstructive elements are able to block progress against the will of the majority of voters.

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This is not new and it may happen anywhere in countries with democracies. It might be considered as the play game of democracy but in some events it’s a dangerous play game setting the tone for more little fruitful dynamics in society…

Whilst not proven perhaps, there is more chance a society at peace or stable in itself at times of peace, – will sustain the disharmony at times of no peace better than the kind of society already divided in itself.

It illustrates somehow as well the sad thing that people often tend to stick together in crisis only, but go their own way when there are no dangers on the horizon.

We live however in a world where simple escalating events may lead to massive drama’s all around.

For this reason the  topic to be discussed today is an interesting one as the perceptions about leadership, democracy and security are almost as different as the dimensions about security and leadership on its own. Issues about eg Israeli’s and Palestinian security have different perceptions all around the world. History shows that people can make a difference within certain positions.

Interestingly we had recently 2 US Presidential candidates with different perceptions and personalities. The person who started his US Presidency in 2009 was able to continue in 2013.  The perceptions of one leader and the choices being made on behalf of international security may define the outcome of many future dynamics. Likewise within the US,  US Congress may define the outcome on other dynamics.

It’s a matter of leadership and being proactive, with inclusive views.

The nature of fast growing  and increasing  economic and financial interdependence of countries around the world, with all sorts of growing  interactions, –  need a far stricter international security than ever before.  It all starts in home land activities, to get grip on those things we don’t want, those things being disruptive for our well-being in the countries where we live, – the things affecting national security.  An issue for all of us, wherever we may live.

Both National and International security are in ways connected.

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Speaking about security at a challenging time in US history, we only need to look back some 150 years ago.

A time where US Congress and legislative issues paved the way for the dynamics leading to the US civil war in the 18th Century.

President Lincoln would not have been the person history remembers if he would not have been challenged after his Presidential election to lead his country through one of the most difficult times in US history.

He was the unexpected President exposed to the worst, which through a combination of circumstances made him the best!

Some would say that the American civil war in those day  was a security and a significant emancipation issue for the US as a Union.

Emancipation still to be remembered, still to be remembered by those members of the Republican Party who are unable to see that emancipation and  inclusive progresses are ongoing issues in history. Running behind the important social and political events of time will catch up with those who have to deal with the implications in the future. History learns that not being proactive comes at a cost.

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Being true what he said in his inauguration, President Lincoln did not allow a minority to disintegrate the Union, –   but he preserved the Union, by which he followed through with his planned declaration of Emancipation to end slavery.

He succeeded as part of the Republican movement at the time to create the next endeavour in US history, keeping the right balance on the required issues of national security in his days.

Whilst generally Southern Democrats were obstacles for Emancipation in the 1860 ties, – Northern Republicans are generally stumbling blocks for 21st  Century US progress. Both with exceptions within  each party in the days of President Lincoln and today. True is that the Republicans were the driving force for progress  one and half century ago.

Republicans should take this on board.

The last still in a most divided America.

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Congressional choices long ago by overturning the so-called Missouri compromise which intended to restrict slavery, played part in the  evolving drama in the 1860ties, before it actually happened.

Today we jump a fair bit in time. To illustrate that divisions can go one way or the other but unresolved within the required legislation will lead to all sorts of processes in society hard to contain.

Also an issue subject to  Congressional choice.  The choice either being proactive or reactive.

It is not long ago  the National Rifle Association moved to block a UN treaty on gun control. The NRF serves strongly the interest of both national and international arms deals, with a high level of influence in US Congress.  Clear is that  US Congress has been willing to serve the power position  of the NRA by simply not approving Presidential proposals to revise gun legislation. The majority however of US voters wants a change in the current legislation on gun control as increasing gun violence disrupts a nation and may compromise eventually national security, the last because the current legislation is not aligned with changing dynamics in US society with more gun related violence and deaths, – both at the cost of children and adults.

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Whilst some 700000 people died during the American civil war at the time of President Lincoln,- more even died as a result of unlawful gun use in the US over various decades.

The downfall of a democracy is that a minority may act against the will of the constitutional rights of voters. Voters to have their voice  properly represented in the legislation a country deserves.  It is true that the ignorance of a few voters – in the words of John F Kennedy –  may impair the security of all. In some cases the security of a Republic.

Congressional ignorance on the issue of gun control may disregard national security interest where it comes to the protection of US citizens. Voters want to reduce the risk  of more generalised and increasing gun violence in the US as the extremes will come together in the context of changing social dynamics. The last  as part of increased globalisation. Congress is not allowing those facts to be considered within the concept of national interest and as such  tolerating  the death toll of existing gun violence, –  eventually debilitating the US ability to keep control in own house. Getting worse when the forces of external terrorism meet existing dynamics in US society with more or less free access to unrestricted guns and assault rifles, enabling massacres at large scale.

A matter of national security.

Congressional choices may define future dynamics whilst the US President is almost powerless to change this at a time this being required.

It’s a matter of poorly understood national security of the United States of America. The dynamics of society turning into  increasing and senseless massacres, – the last often caused by  ill minded and mentally disrupted people from which the statistics say they are only on the increase.  Meanwhile US Congress allowing to be influenced more by NRA interest, and not  taking the dynamics in society or the wishes of voters on board.

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Douglas MacArthur within a different context reflected once his concern for his own great Nation; “not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within”.

He was right in one sense, but today the danger comes from 2 directions, – both from threats within and without,  and with the current Congressional attitude towards increased gun control as is today, – this is a potential menace to the security of the Union.

Lincoln would have turned away from this, – if he could!   It is a matter of emancipation, constitutional emancipation.

Where history changed with new dilemma’s to be sorted, – the ask of true leadership is more profoundly needed all over the world.

But it all starts at home to have the required legislation and law enforcement in place.

We are faced with different dilemma’s this century.

True leadership is required today when the proper balance gets disrupted with lots of things being at stake. And often as it proved in history it falls back on people with a distinct personality and attitude, – bright in their assessment and determined in their actions.

The last applies for US Congress as well. An honest and fair assessment being required, both based on the choice of people being represented and the dynamics in society.

If we speak about the issue of security in a broader sense:

Not only  increased globalization is asking for stricter national and international security, but also  a new political economy with shifting influence from west to east and a population growth hardly possible to sustain, – with an increased unstable relationship between our fragile global civilisation and an increased depletion of our resources.

The last will become vital in the future.

Hence from an international perspective, international security in the Asia-Pacific region can’t be allowed to be compromised by nuclear dictators as eg in North Korea.

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Similarly US security can’t be compromised by increasing gun violence inflicted by more  people turning their hatred on society,  with the same easy access to guns and rifles because Congressional legislation did not follow the trend in society.

Rifles and gun’s being far more advanced than when the Constitution was written. Dynamics within society and international far more different than they have ever been. The US more at edge than ever before.

The issues of both national and international security are getting more important as more things can go wrong at the same time with wider implications faster speed and greater destruction and disruption.

Without the right tools, the right brains and the best possible  assessment, – we lose both momentum and direction for a more stable world.

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And again it all starts at home.

If we look at the Middle East, the situation in Syria is a prime example of major dangers and the potential of an escalating conflict. Civilisation and reason totally lost.

There have been dangers and evils in the past, so will there be evils and dangers in the future and we need to recognise them at an early stage.

When Lincoln made his Emancipation declaration amidst the American Civil war, – it took still hundred years before the Civil Rights movement got its way into proper and equal legislation for each American citizen.

I hope the desired emancipation on gun control and the required restrictions on gun related violence will not take an other 50 years in the US.  It would be a massive drain on society, both for victims and their families, but also for those who have to work in authority within the given restrictions of  incomplete gun legislation.

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People in the police force have families as well.

Fortunately there is no room for racial hatred anymore, but whilst the last  belongs largely to the past new issues of friction and potential hatred arise at the spectrum of social development, – with mixture of cultures and religions, and increased travel from various countries around the world.

Being multicultural in one sense is good and has the potential to bring the goodness of different nations together. The downfall could be when people from poverty stricken area’s in today’s world travel at different countries, – with at times the narrow and restricted perception of only blind hatred. Receiving in some occasions terrorist training in their homeland of origin,  with a mission to destruct and destroy.

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Alqaida has eg booklets designed to help terrorists overseas to make bombs and strike and kill in various ways. The target quite often seems to be the US  and its allies.

We might be horrified to know of what is possible to happen, – but most of us get horrified when it happens. Whilst we need to love our neighbour as ourselves, we have to denounce the persons and groups inflicting violence and terrorism. Similar with countries deliberately exporting this sort of people or ideology to be held accountable in line with international law, – the last subject for renewal and change at various levels to combat the dangers of our time.

But again it starts at home.

Insufficient restrictions on international nuclear control and allowing more countries to have access to nuclear weapons by lack of internal law enforcement is asking for more dictators or other countries “pulling the trigger”, – like allowing more people in the US to have access to lethal rifles and other dangerous guns, – is asking for a more unstable society, – creating a situation with potential “mass pulling of triggers” where the US army may have to act against its own citizens at times of national unrest.

Related image It seems correct that the Bush Administration prepared for FEMA concentration camps in case of social unrest. More important is that the triggers for social unrest never escalate in the use of massive gun violence in one society, – just for the sake of civilisation and protection of citizens. The law simply needs to be adapted to prevent an almost unlimited access is some States.

Again a matter of Congressional choice, but it would not seem they see it this way with some members of this establishment even devoted to get the Obama Administration down on what happened in Benghazi, Libya. Not being able to take the long view but using the short-sighted view to debilitate proper Governance at a time this being required makes jurisdiction stagnant.

 

Just an illustration how members of Congress can add to a “House divided” by not getting the priorities right.

It happened in the past, with US civil war just 150 years ago. It is for some part up to Congress to prevent this ever happening again by reducing increasing gun violence in a similar divided nation on different issues by proper legislation in line with the spirit of time.

With eg the Boston bombing just recently behind, an alleged terrorist rail  plot being foiled in Canada, sarin – gas being possibly used in Syria, and North Korea “one click away” from pushing the launch button of firing ballistic missiles, – it is clear that changing international patterns are evolving into more risk involving scenario’s waiting to become reality. both national and international.

This is what I mean when I say that at some stage  the extremes are coming together, both from outside the country and inside the country.

At the end of the day the means to have control is largely a  matter of the right legislation being in place with the proper law enforcement and the proper people right for our time. This both applies at the arena of national and international politics.

National Security starts at home and coming back on the US, Congress should act in favour of increased gun control.

A matter of civilised and effective legislation to support both national security and the safety of US citizens.

On the extremes outside – and within the context of international security and coöperation against terrorism  – it is  encouraging that President Putin from Russia emphasised the need for increased international intelligence coöperation,  as prevention at an early stage is the better substitute.

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Some nations posses the power to abolish any form of human poverty but also any form of human live.  Both  a matter of responsibility and choice, – a matter actually of priority to support any extended nuclear freeze proposals,  and contain the current level of nuclear experience where it comes to the development of new weapons of mass destruction.

Whilst most nations appreciate the responsibilities on this and have already reduced their nuclear arsenals, new powers arise with the wish to have those weapons as well, – and with a clear intent to either use them or apply international blackmail.

Those countries are an issue of serious concern. They need to be stopped at the earliest possible stage through reason and if reason and sanctions do not help, through force if so required, – in line with international coöperation by those nations committed to stop the dangers to multiply.

The UN plays a central role.

International security on this is based on the practical choice not to allow any new country to develop those weapons, – regardless the question whether it is good or wrong that other countries do already  have those weapons. It is clear that with increasing countries having access to nuclear or chemical weapons it is getting more difficult to keep the world secure.

Same applies with providing at times even more unpredictable people an almost free access to fire arms, – as such creating increasing difficulties to prevent massacres of any kind as result of gun violence, the last with a potential domino effect.

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Stable we can make it through more succesful partnerships on the issues we face in the 21st century. US Congress is not much familiar with succesful partnerships on this issue of restricting gun violence.

Science is able to unleash the powers of destruction by human choice, unless we prevent humankind and powers to make this choice, – by restricting at least the powers who are able to destruct each other.  Most of them who are nuclear now do realise that the choice of such destruction means self-destruction,  involving all humanity.

Likewise science provides terrorists the means to unleash powers of more limited destruction, both by senseless shootings or bomb blasts at areas of their choice. However the means by which terrorists are able to apply this destruction in the future is by no means sure and increased international coöperation is required to recognise at an early stage the features of certain persons and groups committed to terror

Whether terror is provoked or inflicted by guns or bombs makes in essence not much difference when we consider the lethal outcome on both children and adults. School shootings where people die are as terrible as disrupted sport events where people are killed through the hands of terrorists using bombs. Those tools need to be be banned from the street with the restriction (if the Constitution can’t be changed as yet) of gun’s being controlled, registered and only in the hands of mindful people, – and assault rifles being excluded in any case for “civil use”.

We live in a world insufficient prepared for terrorism, – which does not mean we have to learn to live with terrorism as if this would be our fate.

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Both National and International security starts at home in our own countries with the things we can control, with proper legislation and law enforcement on issues being required in the context of changes in society, changes in the way children are brought up and the way they become adults, apart from the changes related with globalization and the technology which brings people down from different countries.

Whilst it is hard to change or control the mindset to take lives for no reason, it is easier to control or limit the means by which we are able to do this.

This applies both to guns and nuclear weapons, –  and it all starts at home where we are privileged to make choices on restricting the tools and dynamics of violence.

US Congress should reconsider the issue of effective gun legislation for the benefit of a more secure society where people are becoming slowly less at risk of violence as due to unlawful use of bullets, – regardless whether those bullets come from US citizens or people who travel from overseas to inflict violence for the reason of hatred against US society.

Waiting for escalating gun violence in the future, wherever it comes from, is pointless. The warnings are there, written already in the hearts of many people who lost loved ones in this repetitive cycle of non-required violence, –  waiting to get worse only.

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We have neither right to inflict suffering nor death on another human being unless there is an unavoidable necessity for it and any culture or country which endorses the right to bear arms amongst it citizens has blood on the law provision it provides on this and will pay at later date a price being higher than initially intended at the time those laws were made.

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The clause on the right to bear arms in the US Constitution is a serious defect considering the time spirit of the 21st Century and lays the foundation of the potential destruction of it’s culture through internal destructive forces, – if not adapted.

Thanks!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

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

 

 

Some predictions for 2013 after 2012?


DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN07 - John F. Kerry, Se...
DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 27JAN07 – John F. Kerry, Senator from Massachusetts (Democrat), USA captured during the session ‘The Future of the Middle East’ at the Annual Meeting 2007 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 27, 2007. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch/Photo by Remy Steinegger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

>”Don’t sweat the small stuff when so much else matters.”<

Predictions are not always easy and sometimes impossible. We have one certainty and this is that not nothing is certain. Our agenda for tomorrow based on today or yesterday may well work out, but sometimes it may get disrupted by the unexpected and we have to deal with things as they face us. The day may end differently than we expected, despite a good start perhaps and despite the fact that we assumed everything would by all right.

The same applies to predictions on a New Year, we hope for the best but nothing is certain. Same applies to the weather forecast. We may have good grounds to say it will be a sunny day tomorrow and go to the beach, but we may have to change plans as it proves to be a rainy day with a thunderstorm after eg a very humid day. Let’s be happy that the forecast that the world would end on the 20th of December was nonsense, nobody is able to predict those things.

In other words we may have our intentions but we are not sure whether they come true. Hence what I have to say about 2013 is based on assumptions, based on trends and certain facts perhaps but knowing as well that everything can be changed by the unexpected. In other words and if you like, read what is written below for your pleasure only. It is written by a country Physician, – so be on your guard as Physicians are not supposed to know anything about the future, not to speak about international developments. However what is said is not too difficult and perhaps we all know about it already. Besides this there is no pretension to be complete on those things as completeness on those things as far beyond our abilities.

2012 was for sure not the most dramatic year fortunately. As I said the world did not come to an end and for some this was a bonus, if they were aware of those predictions. Still there have been plenty of issues in 2012 with the seeds of events setting the scene for 2013. This includes eg the launch of a long-range rocket in North Korea, a country with just a new young leader.We had the conflict between Israel and Gaza, or actually as well the non – coöperation from Israel towards a new Palestinian State next door with still clearly significant Hamas impact and the potential of new rocket attacks from East Jerusalem, – if again a conflict situation. Hamas still being supported by Iran, not particularly Israels biggest ally so to say. We all know this. Nothing new. There has been always friction in this area.. Even in the Old Testament there were many reflections on struggle and endless fights. The problem now is that we have different means to start war’s. It’s a bit scary at times. Iran’s nuclear ambitions within this context are only adding oil on fear.

The ongoing civil war in Syria with endless killings and with the remote risk of escalation is an other example, and sadly spoken there is no reference for life at all in Syria (its leaders).. The only thing which is positive after the international community being tight into “non action” is that Russia is getting a bit over Syria with its troubles as well, which may aid international coöperation to end this pointless conflict, – based on a dictator hanging in for power. It’s a terrible example.

There are the current tensions between China and Japan about an absolute insignificant rock in the ocean, which means apparently enough for those countries to send Navy vessels to this direction. And we all hope that no idiot will start to sink a ship in this breeding conflict as little things can have major implications. However feel assured, neither the Chinese nor the Japanese are idiots, they need to show to their own people that they take this issue serious. However one may ask for what reason. One miscalculation or error in judgement may ruin plans. Interestingly Kennedy during the missile Cuba crisis in 1962 was at the end more concerned about his own Generals than about the leader of the Soviet Union at the time. Gives an indication perhaps that playing with fire may give unexpectedly a fire and sometimes a big one.

The continuation of Obama’s Presidency in 2013 may cause him more grey hairs, but his team approach will help to set the tone of international developments where both wisdom action and restraint are more balanced when the election outcome would have been differently. History has not always been that lucky.

Syrian dictator Assad still being in office with all the ongoing massacres will drive him into increasing isolation.Hopefully it is just a matter of time that international approval will help to stop the needless killings and extreme violence in this troubled country.The whole Middle East area is already troubled enough.

Needless to say that the Middle East will be most challenging in 2013, more so than in 2012. This since civilization festered area with religious hatred and conflict for certain will not easily find a harmonious solution for all parties involved. The most practical interim solution will be straight on US – Iran discussions to test Iran’s willingness to coöperate in multi part talks to restrict/reduce the chance of an escalating war without end.The emhasis should be to end all terror related violence as only this will encourage Israel to help the Palestinians into the developments needed with the protection of all people in the Israel/Gaza region.It is just wait and see whether it will go this direction, but it would be wise to include Iran subject to prove of genuine intentions to keep friendly relations with all neighbours in the area, including full safety guarantees for Israel.

It is amazing to see that the Euro crisis has been able to drag on for another year without a final conclusion. In December 2012 Greece is still in the Eurozone and different European countries are struggling with various intensity to stay straight, so to say. Unemployment ratio is increasing likewise the closure or reduction of various businesses. For many the belief in the Euro future is bleak with Germany however insisting that the Euro should survive. Needless to say that a potential fall of the Euro will have lots of implications for the people of Europe, but also for the nations with strong Euro connections.

Leadership changes took place in various countries during 2012 and generally spoken not much change can be expected immediately after those transitions. However, the leadership changes in both North Korea,China, Russia, Japan and other States will set the agenda for changing dynamics in 2013, with the inclusion at least of a stable and trustworthy foreign policy approach of the US under the same President with a good successor of Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State. John Kerry is a foreign policy expert and an impressive elder statesman in the US Senate. He will not need much “in-house training” to aid US foreign policy on critical issues in 2013.

The most important issue perhaps of being resolved at present is unfortunately financial . If both the US and Europe are unable to solve their issues with the required political will, it will enhance the weakening of the “western hemisphere” in almost every dimension. Fiscal cliffs or not, the balance between outgoing’s and innings need to be right. The current US deficit and the Federal Reserve printing heaps of money not backed by any “golden standard” or “oil” is asking for trouble down the line with the risk of a massive new recession.Utterly complex matters within the US not fully controlled need to be be managed or controlled by vigorous new legislation. Gun control is important and a public topic at present but the system of financial self-regulation is vital for the US to continue to exist in the way it does and not go down the road as the Roman empire once did. Some countries perhaps would be delighted with a reduction of US power, but the risk of a significant reduction of US power could destabilise the world and President’s Obama’s second term will be vital to face and deal with the issues as they are.The potential foreshadow of social unrest and increasing violence as a result of a possible second recession makes gun control even more significant to protect US citizens against itself. The potential destruction of the US not necessarily may come from the outside but can come from the inside and the years ahead are critical for the US. Inflation and possible recession are going hand in hand if no firm control on the Federal Reserve, but the powers behind this are significant and dealing with this is a risk for the US President. However what needs to be done needs to be done. At the end of the day it is all people’s work translated into energy, rewarded by money, – which is decreasing in value by the private control of creating money by the Federal Reserve. Man made problems can be resolved by men, only if the political will to support the required directions resonates through various legislative branches in both Europe and the US.Without any predictions being possible it is wait and see how the dynamis in this area will evolve in 2013, knowing that any international conflict could ruin the efforts of each country to solve its balance between spending and cutting costs in a way which protects those who have worked hard for their money, but also those who live from their superannuation, those who are disabled and fragile in society, the elderly and the children included. “Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places.” as was once said by Nathan Pyle, – however I doubt this for 2013 (in no uncertain terms).. Increasing costs for food and energy against reduced value of our money is harmful wherever we may live on this world, and still the majority of people can’t afford it anymore and live below any reasonable standard of living.

Various countries in the Middle East will face the problem of opposing Islamist groups taking responsibility of taking Government as many Islamists have their own political frictions with the potential of increasing sectarian conflicts in the years laying ahead. Initial peaceful countries could turn quickly into new areas of intense conflict.

The US has renewed interest  in the Asian Pacific for both economical and security reasons after withdrawing from both Iraq and eventually in 2014 from Afghanistan, but the vacuüm created will have both Iran’s and India’s interest to have their perceived deserved share of influence. Also an area of different dynamics with an uncertain outcome at this stage after US withdrawal by the end of 2014.

It is anticipated that US dependence on oil exporting countries is going to reduce in quite sustained ways with significant “US dollar” issues. There is a tendency already of increasing countries less relying on the value of the US dollar with as final result (forgetting about a few other issues) that the US impact on foreign international policy may reduce in value and strength..

President Obama shortly in his second term will have greater influence to balance the critical important relationships between the US and China. The new President Xi from China needs to get agreement and support for a different set of policies in a rebalancing act on the Chines economy and the demands of some 350 million middle class people. The facts behind the conflict between Japan and China in the East Chines sea could be well that the Chinese government can’t afford to look weak. It is clear that the US has been worried about China for some time and it is not hoped that Japan might be forced to act in a very trivial conflict with apart from this the still contentious issues around Taiwan.

As we all know, words from leaders may lead to action and both feeding empty rhetoric and false sentiments besides fear, are unhelpful to balance the required coöperation between Washington and Beijing.Tha call for action goes together for the call for great care on both sides. Again note that it has been an international interest to have President Obama reelected as US “Commander-in-Chief”, even though a number of US citizens feel different about this.

Iran has been faced with various sanctions in 2012 together with increased inflation and unemployment.The desire of Iran to go nuclear and have potential weapons of mass destruction is going at a significant cost for Iran.It’s standing in the region as due to the Arab uprising is not as strong as it was before.It’s ally Syria is fully involved in a civil war and Israels insistence on a preëmptive attack may seem to have diminished somewhat, waiting what a second Obama term will deliver in terms of security for Israel. The question remains whether containment of a nuclear Iran is possible. Israel will still reconsider its options and in terms of US foreign policy it would be wise to test Iran on its willingness to have serious discussions on security matters in the Middle East area, including its place about Israel. If Israels security is without any doubt accepted it is neither in Israel’s interest nor intention to start a preëmptive war with Iran, but also this is a wait and see matter as how dynamics will evolve. Needless to say again that this is an area of both great concern and importance and proactive management from the US Administration is a need to keep the right balance as from other countries this can’t be expected, unfortunately. It’s a critical issue in US foreign policy in the Middle East and it would be hoped that John Kerry will be granted with a new US mission to explore the potential coöperation with Iran to balance US vital security interest in Israel, without a major Middle East war.

Climate change and the implications of Climate change, the protection against terrorism of any kind will remain high on the international agenda, likewise and hopefully increasingly the protection of human rights. The last often an issue of international lip service and a need being recognised but not often materialised where it proves to be required, including the issue of increasing human trafficking. Also in this domain we have to wait and see how international coöperation will work out, but at least a stable world will contribute and a world with increasing conflict will compromise, – any form of human rights! Hence the importance of the 2013 agenda that some countries are going to deal seriously with their own financial affairs as what we can learn from history is that the great depression of the 1930ties was one of the triggers of the second word war.

America’s stronghold as an economic power has been compromised in the past and it is by far nor sure this will be sorted in the future. A sudden recession or an unexpeced and escalating conflict could ruin each potential to overcome its problems if both leaders in Europe and the US are unable to get the required support to control internal economical dynamics not being sufficiently managed in the past. Fruitful international relationships are  of ongoing importance, which will be really the challenge of 2013 with a new generation of leaders in vital countries of potential conflict.

Far more to say about 2013, but let’s leave this to the experts with more insight information about existing background dynamics. What often seems true on the surface is different from the inside, with the knowledge reaching this inside.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

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

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/

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:

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/