Tag Archives: Russia

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


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

 

 

 

“United we stand; divided we fall.”
Aesop

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

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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.

Related imageG8 summit in Ireland, June 17, 2013

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/

 

 

21st Century’s collision course of nuclear disaster, – both the possible and the impossible!


Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Those who get confused about the real priorities on earth and lose their cause will pay the costs

This is the reason I want to speak about the prospect of war tonight, not because I like it but the risks are more clear than ever before. The risk of people as part of humankind as a whole being confused about the real enemies and threats we are faced with.

This is the topic for tonight

Tonight people in Western Australia‘s Pilbara region are being warned that the pending Cyclone Rusty could bring 250 km/hour winds slamming into the coast and inflicting massive destruction. Major parts of the Queensland coast and New south Wales have been battered by storms, twisters and flooding at a scale of increasing force. Both the east and west coast of Australia are encountering changing in patterns subject to greater forces of violence of nature in the future.

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That’s nature only.

Like one small wave or earthquake may cause a tsunami, destructive in all its power, – a minor escalating conflict may cause atomic war

Just moments before a tsunami hits can be a time of serene calm, – as calm and hidden can be the preparation of war. In some places the water actually pulls back from the coast. In some cases, harbours and bays are entirely emptied of their water. And people may be misled by those signs, whilst full destruction is pending.

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The same applies when times are filled up with hope, where the absence of war does not mean there is peace. Peace though being desired as the most important revelation on earth, – peace being desired as the most important power being able to combat both war and the preparation for it. Peace being required to combat the elements of nature and not destruction ourselves by choice through science being used the wrong directions.

It will be neither Air Force One which brings this peace, nor is it the breaking of a man’s spirit which may cause war, – but the sum of all efforts in either direction of both peace or war will make the difference between our existence or our total destruction, – the difference between the worst possible menace of violence, or our ability to communicate with each other and try to solve problems, – civilised within the potential of our humanity, as civilised we need to be at the major platforms of international discussions

“Civilisation” in the international arena of politics and eliminating dangers, both about forces of nature and war, should be based by principle on communication and efforts to change perceptions and give countries a chance to stick to international acceptable standards, – knowing we do not live in an ideal world. Hence the reason to do it this way, rather than the other way round.

When the bible speaks about the Kingdom of God being pending within the given variety of historical options and debate, – regardless indeed the potential of global self-inflicted destruction, – we have to remember that still a natural law applies: that we can only bring so much of God’s domain into this world as we have access to and willing to apply.

In the past 100 years, since 1914, we have seen two “World Wars”. World War 1 was more profound in it’s destructiveness than the sum of all the wars over the last 2500 years. World War II was four times more destructive than World War I.

The nuclear annihilation of two cities in Japan was the end of it

Two small bombs.

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The nuclear bombing which crippled Japan for many years, – had the most painful physical effects for many.

In no comparison with what is available now.

Any humans which survived the first blast of this explosion in eg one city only had major radiation exposure. Some 140000 people who survived this first nuclear explosion being used in war, sustained radiation exposure with many 3rd degree burns and were after the blast subject to the long term after effects of radiation poisoning. They were subject to increased risks on various cancers, the unborn being exposed, – and once born months later, far more vulnerable, with the far reaching increased risks of leukaemia and other malformations later in life.

From the first survivors only some 10% did live for a further 2 weeks as due to the wounds, the pain and the agony.

Nurses being overworked waited just for people to die as this was the last blessing to be relieved from their pains.

The long term after effects were horrendous.

The 2 nuclear bombs destroyed everything in its path. Those bombs killed about 165000 people within the first 3 months in Hiroshima and some 80000 in Nagasaki at a similar time frame

Nothing in comparison with what is available and possible now when any nuclear power would opt to use its arsenal, apart from the domino effect on other nuclear powers doing the same out of retaliation.

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The Tsar Bomb eg developed by the USSR and detonated in 1961 over the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya, had a power of 50 megatons, – about 10 times the total explosives used in WWII, including the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Its fireball was so huge that it reached the ground while almost reaching the altitude of the bomber plane 10 km in the sky. It was felt almost 1,000 km from ground zero, and the heat from its first flash could have caused third degree burns some 110 km away. The mushroom cloud that formed was about 65 km high and 45 km wide, and the blast could be seen and felt in Scandinavia, where windows were broken. This bomb was originally designed to be one of 100 megatons, in other words twice the power as been exploded.

The Soviets decided in the end not to go ahead with this 100 megaton bomb

Mind you, – – those nuclear explosives were developed in the early 1960ties some 15 years after the end of the second world war and now we are living in a time where small nations developing nuclear weapons which could equate the 100 megatons in about 20 years or less, as those initially being designed by the Soviets and exploded in 1961.

The potential problem for every country in the third world which wants to be a nuclear power, provides the risks they may develop the sort of weapons both the US and Russia already had in the 1950ties, – and the world for certain should not allow this regardless the fact that the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, India and Pakistan already have nuclear bombs of various strength, -with Israel being included for almost a half century.

North Korea eg is an increasing power, -however a very unusual and unpredictable power, – last but not least as part of its almost total isolation. Despite good connections with both Russia and China in the past, the last 2 superpowers are getting concerned as well, – and the UN does not affect North Korea in any way to change positions of the regime.

There are different ideas about diplomacy and how to apply this in certain circumstances, – but so be it.

There are ideas about applying force, – so be not at this stage!

There is nothing against down to earth diplomacy, face to face at top level, – to prevent an otherwise potential worst case scenario. Only a minor shift in perception may change the risk of war. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, – which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”

Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term for the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, guided by both Russia and China as the long term developments and scenario’s may hit them as hard as the US in terms of costs protecting its citizens. It will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours.

The diplomacy of the kind being applied till so far did not work, however top level face-to-face diplomacy has not been tried as yet. Top level diplomacy does not mean bending towards NK’s demands, but high level direct diplomacy should be both aimed to ease the tensions and to create a fruitful alternative, – or NK indeed to face the gradual implications which would make regret its actions.

Such meetings with NK is not rewarding them for bad behaviour but allowing them by choice, and after exploring the alternatives, to engage as the last possible option into the domain of civilisation, – besides preventing the possibility that nuclear technology might find its way to Iran, al-Qaeda and others.

The last scenario would be only the start of a more devastating process, – widespread nuclear terrorism included – –

In the long history of the world, at times there were good powers in the Middle East, – like there were repugnant powers as well, living at the cost of many others, – those who died, forgotten in the dust of history.

As history often shows, people do not learn the way they should do, as a group or as a society, – and with this knowledge in the 21st century we need to make this different to survive as a human race on this planet. The flaws in foreign policy from the past should not be the repeated flaws in the future. Nuclear war starting in the Middle East could easily annihilate the human race, with a destruction and chaos as never being met before.

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Like a tsunami may hit us unexpected at the lower coast lines, – nuclear war could hit us unexpected anywhere and unprotected everywhere.

The US may play a major role to help fruitful dynamics, along with China and Russia.

The US can’t be indifferent as a broker, however this does not mean it would be dishonest, or should be dishonest with integrity by principle, – regardless the agenda of placing some safeguards for Israel. Safeguards being justified within the context of ongoing threats. Safeguards, – as the alternative of doing nothing to bend the road among the dynamics in the Middle East more positively, – means simply the clock is ticking towards more chaos and violence. Whether this is in Egypt or with the Palestinians, – Hezbollah in Lebanon or Iran, – or any other areas with conflict including Syria. The last with a promising diplomatic Russian intervention yesterday, with the current regime being ready now to talk to all parties, – despite the risk of so called lip service to dialogue in more sustained ways.

We know it’s all complex, but terrorism and war are even more complex, – and safeguards should be there for any party agreeing with the fact  that broader violence is an inflated perception, leading to nothing else than a final destruction of this whole area and with this at least part of the world. Destruction of what once was build in terms of culture and difference. The Middle East being ancient and rich as once was the Roman empire, the first even older than the last.

Everything is a matter of perception and perceptions do rule the world, either in the leaders of people and governments, or in the people themselves. Whether those perceptions are right or wrong, bizarre perhaps at times – if we put up barriers feuded by prejudice, and as such preventing that we work with the most crucial different perceptions of our times, – we are taking away the opportunities of people coming together and making the impossible possible.

Impossible it seems before arriving at meetings, impossible when people are angry at times and reasoning from emotions, leaders living with ideas of going to war, – especially when those ideas do resonate at Departments of existing Foreign policy or at major military platforms. But history shows that the impossible is possible, even when we are faced with the impossible, like we are faced with the impossible of earthquakes and tsunamis when forces of nature do hit us wave by wave leaving behind bewildered people amidst destruction. But the last are situations where people despite destruction and losses of lives find each other in their willingness to help. That’s again a difference in perception, guided by what hits us.

Guided by what hits us, – whether it is a major bushfire or flooding, a tsunami or an earthquake. Those are challenges we don’t ask for but they hit us unexpected, – like a major rock from space can hit us unexpected.

And you know, – we train doctors and nurses, medical teams and fire brigades and all the others to help when required, – but the terrible contradiction comes in when major war hits the horizon.

War may hit us unexpected but the difference is that the dynamics leading to war are premeditated, dynamics who find their roots far too often within inflated perceptions not being properly discussed or taken to a level of exploring different alternatives.

This is the world as it does present us to day, whether it applies to the problems in the Middle East or in Korea, whether it applies to tensions between the US and China. And even when it seems that certain perceptions are not subject for change, those perceptions being purely based on blind hatred and prejudice, – whether it is the prejudice against the Jews or prejudice of any other kind, – still it is worth giving communication a chance, perhaps a last chance. Even when it seems against all odds. However, there should be zero tolerance for people and even countries who simply kill either on their own or in groups, – just for killing and destroying lives.

Zero tolerance for this!

leadership and I mean true leadership is not the rhetoric from behind the desk in front of a microphone, nor is it confronting people with the facts after disaster happened with the knowledge it could have been dealt with differently. Leadership as well is taking fear for granted and leave it behind in order to tackle the problems which need to be tackled. Leadership is not watching a train taking the wrong railway path and simply watching how a collision will occur and tell us thereafter that it occurred without taking action to alarm those being able to stop the train, or plane, – going into a collision course. This applies to the dynamics of potential world events as well, and we know they are closely watched with far too often too little proactive action. And if we speak then again about eg North Korea, the questions is what kind of discussions with NK do we mean? What kind of settlement do we seek? – – Not an American forced process which may escalate problems by American weapons or war. Not the security of us being a slave from a dogmatic regime running the treadmill of their own insecurities by isolation themselves of the rest of the world by their war machinery. Not only by their current war machinery, but by their nuclear potential just years down the line. We can’t afford to turn a blind eye for this.

I am really talking about a genuine process which helps both sides to reconsider an ability to take a different direction, – a direction of helping to grow one nation sidetracked from common civilisation, – anxious about the concept of liberation as it would as such destroy the current status quo.

What we know from history is that nations did arise and disappeared at times in the dust of history, a process over many and many more years. We know as well that dictators grew old and were replaced at times. We know as well that the people of some nations said that they had enough and went on the street to provoke change. Change at times so desired and needed. All this is not possible at the moment but we can’t allow one nation at this point of history potentially destroying history itself by simply not talking. Total war as a result of this, triggered by error or miscalculation makes no sense as no one will surrender without resort to those forces which could destroy us all. Believing that negotiations and fruitful discussions do not make sense means that people feel it is inevitable that NK goes it own way by further producing thermonuclear devices and more advanced missile systems in the future, – allowing as such that at some stage we will or may be subject to international blackmail. Not believing in the only possible way of discussions, to change perceptions as an act of real leadership, is a regressive defeatist belief leading to the belief we have no grip to change those forces and powers which need to be changed, – forces which need to be modified based on simply the reason at this time in history.

This time in history!

Whilst sensible words and conversations do not harm and open options for further dialogue, easing tensions, – provocative words and actions may lead to war.

This time in history!

Whilst there is no “magic formula” to make peace, man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible and I believe we can do it again whilst we learn from the past and walk the many miles to reach out to make the impossible possible, – like this happened eg during the Cuba crisis, like this happened eg when the Iron Curtain between East and West Berlin was abolished, like it happened eg when a first US President did visit mainland China for a new chapter in history.

This time in history again!

Facing the facts of this world we can’ deny fanatic nationalism being on the rise, with the situation worldwide being similar to the conditions that triggered both past World War’s. In 1994 Africa’s Rwanda proved how tensions suddenly can explode; church-going neighbors turned on one another with genocide. Close to 1000,000 died. Even women and children that took refuge in churches were hacked to death by machete.

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Again this time!

Multinational wars in Africa claimed some 2,500,000 lives, including the hidden war in the Congo, almost completely ignored by western news media. India and Pakistan have exchanged angry threats in the past, backed by nuclear missiles.

War usually does cause famine by disrupting farming, like happened during and after the 2 World Wars. Stalin created death by starvation of millions of his own countrymen in Russia . After the second World War about a fourth of the world was starving.

Corruption and war has starved millions in both Angola, Somalia, Ethiopia and North Korea. Zimbabwe had a corrupt and brutally racist regime, using selective starvation to crush dissents. Wealthy nations do show “compassion fatigue,” Sometimes the news media just ignore situations until hundreds of thousands are already dead. In other places, the problem is not one of war but gross inequality: the rich are sumptuously stocked, while just across town the poor cannot afford even a balanced diet. All too often the poor in so-called “developing” countries have to stand with empty hands and empty stomachs whilst rich harvests are exported for hard cash which then being used to buy weapons being used by the government against its own people.

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All this in our times!

The World Health Organization reflects that at least 5 million children die every year from malnutrition. At the same time in the well developed world many children are grossly obese with already early signs of both diabetes and high blood pressure.

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The world is shaking both by its bankruptcy of moral values in some countries as literally by earthquakes. Besides this there have been major upheavals in societies and governments in the past century. Empires have been broken up, and divisions have split nations along ethnic and religious lines. In 2008 there was a near-collapse of the world economy due to greedy financial manipulation, with great difficulty slowly recovering but the markets both in Europe and the US still unsure, the last as due to a huge deficit. In early 2011 we observed an Islāmic Spring with still uncertain outcomes.

We can’t deny it, it happens all in our time, in past time and currents times over and over!

In many places around the world people put heavy steel bars over their windows. Often honest people being in jail whilst criminals walk the streets. Confessed rapists and murderers set free and courts finding technical excuse to do so. In some places 80% of all children are born to single mothers with not rarely the father not being known. Many semi-slave laborers as part of the human trafficking industry, often enslaved and very young within an increasing dangerous and powerful evil business overtaking in the years ahead the industry of the “drug barons”. Poisons being poured out into rivers whilst people downstream have no other choice but to drink the contaminated water. Multinational corporations hiding their trail of injustice and profits in a legal jungle of complex contracts where government officials turn a blind eye for cash. The exponential increase of our human population in the 21st Century will raise more expectations on normal living circumstances and shelter, – unsustainable as more people adopt modern lifestyles of consumption and pollution. Climate change will provide a burden for us all, – but in particular for those people with little shelter and less normal circumstances of living.

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The 21st century, – all our time and may be the end of times if we don’t pull together as civilised nations and use reason as the guiding force to streamline our decisions, decisions or choices which will determine how we proceed this century.

Conflicts are increasing over essential resources, especially water and energy. Accelerating climate changes with profound changes in patterns both in Australia, the US and other parts of the world. Political and economic instability including the slowly spreading of nuclear weapons give little hope in objective terms. Church officials being exposed as pedophiles, seducing or raping little boys and girls. The Roman Catholic Church turning a blind eye for a long time to this like they turned a blind eye to Hitler Germany to continue as a Church. A reflection of the violence of institutions, indifference and inaction and slow decay. But still amidst this good people as well fighting this decay.

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Many good people in our times as well! —-

Going back as not being finished yet:

Hitler, Lenin and Pol Pot who did mislead millions of people doing the most repugnant and wicked things, apart from the “smaller evils” like eg Idi Amin.

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However, – still we have the last choice, if people say to kill we don’t need to kill.

If we were abused as children by parents, we don’t need to abuse our children..

For some, – religion as part of their appeal with Al-Qaeda being a prime example now.

All in this world and in our time!

And still, – we can only bring so much of the Kingdom of God into this world as we have within ourselves, – which includes our sense of piety or respect for life, – within the concept of a practical and down to earth wisdom on international relationships.

Our times are full of shame and sorrow despite the hope for a better future where forces of nature should be the enemies and not humankind divided in itself. The victims of the violence and senseless bloodshed are across all religions, black and white, rich and poor, young and old.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

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Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and indifference amidst this is a different sort of violence on its own. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, the hungry and those being victims of broad-spectrum abuse, whether it is human trafficking or the abuse of elderly in homes.

I am not saying this because I have remedies for this. No not at all. It’s more that I am speechless of the complexities and dangers of this world, – our only world.

It is not about me but it is about all of us, young in heart and spirit to do what life asks us to do with the predicaments of our time. This time and for all times, just to set the records straight for future generations.

The question is when we may find in our own hearts that sort of leadership re humane purpose that will see and hear the terrible truths of our existence, to be replaced by the kind of love and commitment which helps people and nations to grow with real destination, with true distinctions in our search for meaning in life, – neither enriched by hatred nor revenge. But a meaning which frees our children from the injustice inflicted by others and allows them not to build their futures on the misfortunes of those who lost their fight for justice in the agony of life.

Let us look around towards our fellow men and women to seek the bond of common faith.

This faith which can teach us neither to be indifferent nor to have illusions, but to see the world as it is and still keep hope by working and healing wounds in hearts and spirit, – by working to be brothers and sisters with a common goal to make the impossible possible.

Whilst there is again no “magic formula” to make peace, – man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible.

And I do believe we may do it again by being free man and taking our bullets of self-destruction to the ballet of international coöperation, – to counteract the problems of our time, to counteract it for the future of our children and their children, – but it will come at a cost we can’t foresee as yet.

All in our time.

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Thank you!

 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/

Fukushima: why is vital technology arriving so late?


Fukushima
Fukushima (Photo credit: zigazou76)

Obviously it was a good thing to see a roaring Antonov N-124 cargo plane from Russia flying into Atlanta airport this week, picking up a specially designed 86180 kg concrete pump, retrofitted and mounted on a 26-wheel truck to pour water on the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant.This Putzmeister made pump in Wisconsin is able to shoot water into hard-to-reach areas like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant,  and  as it happened in 1986 when two of such pumps have been used to pour concrete over the most “risk parts” of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine.

Japanese authorities from the beginning have been facing  the problem to cool the plant’s  reactors after the recent earthquake and tsunami, fully crippling out the backup cooling equipment.

Needless to say that this technology will offer real help. This equipment is both able to pump and spray enough water to cool down an overheated reactor, where fire trucks and helicopters  are not efficient, – but  this equipment is also able to pour concrete over parts of nuclear plants if so required. Really great this technology!  But why on earth is  this technology arriving so late at its proper destination?

This equipment has a boom which can reach out some 70 meter, besides really  the opportunity to be operated at least 3 km away by remote control.

Lets face it,  a more proactive approach with sending this type of equipment in a far more timely way could have prevented excessive radiation and could have limited as such death and morbidity at a large-scale.

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Japan‘s latest estimates about radiation being  released in the air from the Fukushima plant, seems about 370 terabecquerels of iodine 131.  This is about 7-8 % of the estimated 5200 terabecquerels released at Chernobyl. The difference  is mainly caused by  the fact when the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl happened, the reactor had power, – whilst the Fukushima plant had no power at the time of the earthquake. It could have been a worst case scenario if the plant at Fukushima  had full power on impact, which could have been possible.  Of note as well that Caesium -137 levels last far longer than those of iodine and further measurements of Caesium -137 levels and its spreading may give a more detailed indication on the future implications, if full transparency is in place.

Still however  the question after Chernobyl – why international support on the most vital point of attack in scenario’s like the one at the Fukushima Daiichi plant has been so slow, with now so many implications for Japan. It is clear that the International Atomic Energy Agency, apart from judging matters of radiation in terms of INES scales in retrospect,  need to seek support at the level of international governments and vice versa. The aim is to have rapid response teams quickly available with the inclusion of pumps as designed e.g. at Putsmeister, and e.g Russian cargo planes at times of such disasters being on stand by, – besides other things. This actually will show proper and proactive support in the future and may cut both damage and danger in any further events down the line. It is clear that Fukushima needs to give lesson’s for the future, like the BP oil disaster in the US needs to be a lesson in terms of specific required international technology being rapidly on the spot. The last simply as a need to combat destructive implications at an early stage, with speed.

Related imageJapan wants to share the lessons it learned from the Fukushima nuclear disaster

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If e.g a major bus accident happens on the road with many being seriously injured, – rapid response is vital as the earlier you can pay attention to those who have breathing problems or those who are bleeding, the better the survival rate. In a way this is similar with what happened at Fukushima. If Putzmeister pumps would have been on the spot within let’s say 4 days, if achievable, the implications would have been less dramatic on both the short and the long-term for people who have tried to fight this disaster at the forefront, – now being exposed to measures both discriminatory and reminiscent due to stigma’s being applied – and confusion about radiation.

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It is clear that proactive disaster management plans to the future need to be in place in those areas which could provoke major threats on human lives if disasters of any such kind are not dealt with properly, – with all technology being required in place in the quickest way. This requires on its own international coöperation, which failed Japan in crucial areas, or at least arrived to late.

Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/03/30/the-nuclear-energy-dangers-in-our-times/

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