Tag Archives: Syria

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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WE SHALL OVERCOME


Related image“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Albert Einstein

“Perseverance is more prevailing than violence; and many things which can’t be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little.”
Plutarch

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
Melody Beattie

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You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
 You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise. –  Maya Angelou

 

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We shall overcome one day in ourselves, with gratitude to our past, our present and our future. Gratitude to those who made our life and circumstances possible. Gratitude to our friends and opponents who made us what we are now or what we have been, – who shaped our response, – those who were “our teachers” in both the right and the wrong things.

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We may overcome ourselves within the things we cherish, within the positives amidst negatives, – the last being different for all of us. Different for us as individuals, different for us as a class or group as well, whether we are part of a city, state or country.

The Freedom Fighters in the US shaped the future for equal rights among black and whites. This shaping of the future was not without violence and cruelty. Non-violent struggle did overcome racial segregation, like it did overcome apartheid in South Africa with similar forces in action elsewhere many years later.  Again however, not without violence and cruelty.  People beaten, shot, disappearing, often at young age, – by their opponents. But they did overcome, marching up to freedom. Freedom land as a way of achieving, not the final goal, but a way. A way with violence to be avoided, – where possible. At least by not provoking this violence.  What we give we tend to receive. If we answer all violence with violence it makes us all blind and there are smarter ways, – ways being less destructive and more effective to bend sweltering injustice into a strapping justice of different sorts. It is the way of violence to be avoided within all reasonable dimensions.

Image: Julian BondJulian Bond, civil rights activist

Like the US was trying to control the status quo in the 196o ties,  South Africa was trying to defend the rights of minorities by compromising the rights of majorities. Many countries are still doing the same. But the non-violence movement has been neither restricted to the US nor South Africa. And still we benefit from such a movement, and the movement needs to grow as it is the only way forward to overcome man made institutional and other dangers being difficult to control. If man made dangers can’t be controlled by reason anymore, we are at risk of being controlled by defeatist perceptions regarding  those dangers, with the risk those perceptions take over at a cost of man made opportunities we have. The power of a non violence movement need to be able then to show greater leverage than the power of senseless massacres or decisions to go this direction.

Where the choice is made to make peaceful revolution impossible, the alternative however of a violent uprising is inevitable.

Peaceful change with the least possible violence is the way to overcome. A movement which should grow from Syria to North Korea, from oppressive regimes in South America to similar regimes in Asian countries. But the means by which the movement for change now tries to break through is by no means the same or fitting the Gandhi/Martin Luther King or Mandela legacy, – seems to evolve more dangerous even and perhaps more deadly. Often leaders now responsible for venom being injected to paralyze it’s people in fear, and not to speak out anymore.

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Bloodshed and massacres do not seem to stop and the question is what sort of good may come out of all of this and what sort of “reason” people or countries may come up with , without making situations at various places more explosive.  Whilst some people may feel gratitude for both the past, the present and the future, the question as well what sort of “gratitude” people may have at places in the most difficult circumstance one can imagine,  – situations like we can only recognize from war’s we have been able to leave behind. The gratitude to live for some might be replaced by the gratitude to die for others, which is the worst of all gratitude as the last gratitude we should have is the gratitude to live. And this is the preferred gratitude we should be able to share and to contribute to, if at all possible.

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The last is what we may think. But people are able to take this away from other people by the venom of hate, by the brutality of their violence, by the starvation of people. Some of them will “overcome” but not all of them. Some of them may see the new day but not all of them. Some of them may feel peace but others may have lost all peace, all gratitude, and don’t feel human anymore as their humanity has been compromised and violated on the altar of merciless torture and abuse.

It is this almost complex manifestation in nature as well, that life often comes at a cost of other life, –  whilst as human beings by nature we have the gift by choice. The last in general to change the dynamics of hate and destruction into the dynamics of a reasonable peace. Not an ideal peace perhaps. However, combined with more justice, at least the most desired option within the reasoning of our human options.  As long as we have such a desire and imagine the implications in the best possible ways, – we may attract positive outcomes if those ripples of hope are shared at the best possible frequencies of our human dimensions. With this shared gift we can change and “overcome”.

Liberation is only possible by ordinary people doing extra ordinary things by non-violence. The power of ordinary people can keep a dream alive, can move governments if so required, is able to resolve some of the dangers of war and all-out violence. Is even able to “move” people who lost their dreams as due to even an overload of prosperity. The other way around, – so to say, as people can “sleep in” through prosperity, being blind for what is going around.  However, whilst the broader movement of non-violent action resisting what persists along the lines of injustice of various kind, the question is whether the non violent approach as a starting  point is always possible to be continued under all circumstances as part of the process of liberation?

If we look at history the answer is simply: No!  Without violence it was not possible to remove Hitler and his followers. Without violence it was not possible e.g during WW2 to protect the Jews in various countries like e.g. the Netherlands, where resistance groups had to target Gestapo Officers responsible for the transportation of Jews to concentration camps, and likewise had to target collaborators who worked with the Gestapo. Without the perseverance of Brittain and the support of the US Hitler’s “Third Reich” would have had free play.  It is just an example. And there are far more and other examples as well. However non-violent action to bring required change is the most favorable and most honorable way to add to peaceful dynamics which may last. Perseverance is more prevailing than persistent violence

Let’s be grateful that despite tears, pain, hardship and even death, – history showed the growing seeds of forces turning against evil and overcome destructive powers. Therefore, still we can say “we shall overcome” even if we are not allowed to see the promised land, – we shall overcome.

Even with our confined days on this earth we have the choice to try to reduce destruction and improve life and the circumstances of those who needless suffer as due to the choices of evil powers, the last which should not to be tolerated in our times. Powers which are due to be eliminated as due to the risks they impose on humanity.

Time is slow for those in need. Time is slower for those who are desperate and time stands still  almost when people lose their loved one’s in ongoing violence. Violence  eg in Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and other areas…

Protecting of self-interest when under threat as a country is one thing. However, this should be reasonable and within proportions.  Being the captives of perceived national security threats and not being able to reach out to the voices of crippled people under the brutal forces of any military powers or secret police at times, – is hard to tolerate in a world which has been faced with so much pathological violence before. And whilst time may be slow, here  time is of the essence to resist this,  as morbid powers are not allowed to take over.

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History did teach us many lessons in what works and also things which do not work, and we can be grateful for this.  However the highest appreciation is not utter words only but to live by those lessons, to live the gratitude for those lessons and to pay tribute to those in history who did contribute to more justice and gratitude and peace for our times and all times, – even when there are still areas on this planet where this is not felt at all.

Our obligation is not an obligation to pay lip service only.

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We live in a world with increasing injustice, the last even within institutions,  – a venom if not eradicated!

Though we are limited in our endeavours, we shall overcome one day, .  as long as our dreams do last, .  as long as our unaffected efforts do not rest, .   as long as our mind conceives and believes, our gratitude does not cease, and we as people are able to fulfil, . in a way which lifts the burdens in and around us and makes us free.
Let us raise again in this dream, as to never forget, …as this is the reality of life where all men are created equal, – but most being surely more unequal through the far stretching differences and circumstances of life,  – the last for certain not always by choice.
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Therefore, –  again, and more than ever before: resist in truth what is wrong,  and persist in truth what is good  whilst protecting live as worthy as possible.
We may have fallen with our feet trodden beneath the dust, but we shall rise up again. Reminding ourselves that our lives depend on the labour of others and that we have to give in the same measure as we received, taking things day by day and step by step, – knowing that endurance is more powerful  than ferocity.
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Knowing as well that there is a place and time for the fullness of real gratitude,  and that amidst the corners of history’s shame we shall overcome one day,  as the wall’s of hatred and prejudice have been broken then, –  and mercy may prevail for our time and all times!
Thanks!

Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

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The wider implications of the Syrian drama


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

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

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

In Syria this became a lost case of criminal justice.

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

 

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/

 

 

America’s Role In The Middle East – Justified?


English: youth orchestra of the middle east
English: youth orchestra of the middle east (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We shall live at last as free men on our soil, and die peacefully in our own homes”, – as Theodor Herzl once wrote in his book “The Jewish State“.

He wrote this almost a century ago, long before the concentration camps of Hitler, long before the increasing tensions in the Middle East, – not being aware that what he said now applies for most people living in the Middle East, the young and the old, the sick and the frail….

The tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, the tensions between some Arab nations with both each other but with Israel as well, – proved to be one of the most intractable and ever-lasting conflicts in modern history, not forgetting the history of thousands years ago. A conflict with still powerful impacts outside the boundaries of the Middle East, either on the price of oil or on the growth of global terrorism, – fended by those states getting increasing powerful.

The Middle East is both a dream and a reality, – the Middle East a frame-work for both interesting difference and evolving cultures, – but still a major threat to both international security and peace.

As one said years ago: “We have tears about Johannesburg”. This at the time of major friction in South Africa, with the risk of ripping South Africa apart and social unrest escalating into civil war. It did not happen finally as wisdom did reign by the actions of some.

Today can be said: “We have tears about the Middle East”, as neither Allah nor God, the same, – would approve any of the activities of those who hate, those who kill without reason.

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Yesterday, – about 43% of US voters had the opinion that the United States was too much involved in the Middle East, some 15% did believe the US should offer broader involvement in the Middle East. Perhaps some 31% felt fine about the current level of US involvement in this part of the world. This has been the outcome of a recent Rasmussen Report with a 95% confidence level. In other words, the outcome of the Rasmussen Report was very close to give an correct idea of the American public at a time the role of the US in the Middle East takes a more central role, – as far as the confirmation hearings of the nominee Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel concerned.

Is this surprising?

Some may feel this is part of an ongoing worldwide conflict between the Islāmic world and the West, but such feeling is most questionable if we look at the Islāmic culture and it’s real traditions, – which by far the majority of people of Islāmic background is favoured. Most of the Islāmic people are hardworking people with a common faith and a common believe in family traditions and a common hope for peace on earth. Both for their children and themselves.

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In essence their belief system is close to ours perhaps, where it goes to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, supportive to the striving and tolerant to both the strong and the weak. The tensions in the Middle East are not between regions or religions, it is not about the poor versus rich, but it is about those who hate, – and those who feed their hate with weapons of prejudice and destruction, with infiltration by night and attacking by day, – both at small and larger scale, – both with risk of massive escalation.

The current US Administration is sharing this view and it is about the last risk being mentioned that US involvement may shift to a broader involvement, – perhaps against public opinion, but with the aim to prevent an escalating situation where this is possible on reasonable terms.

Widespread coöperation is still possible, as illustrated eg by the famous Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim‘s with his Youth Orchestra, – joined by young talented Arabs and Israelis. This was a real life show of musical harmony in the Middle East, a show as well that behind the scenes, behind the scenes of hard work, – those young people were able to share what they have in common, to share their humanity and their dreams regardless of what their Governments say. And as so often happens, – it became clear as well how many of those people who created for a brief moment musical harmony in the Middle East, – were influenced of what was spread by the media in their own countries, the prejudice of often their own Governments, affecting the nations of many people. People who don’t want to have anything to do with a new war, – don’t want to live in ongoing fear.

Musical harmony is great, as it bind souls and people in common endeavours, – regardless colour, race, identity or belief. It binds the people good at heart and intention, – being ready to work for harmony with the tool set of various instruments and skills, under the guidance of great and skilled Conductors, – Conductors encouraging people young in heart and spirit, encouraging people who are not blindfolded as yet by the common convictions of prejudice and hatred.

That’s about music and music needs harmony.

Those who persistently fail, either on purpose or lack in effort, – lack in effort to play their own role at such an Orchestra need to be replaced as they destroy the collective effort. The last does not need force, it requires reason, – and most of those participants make place for better ones, even if it takes an argument. But it is better to loose an argument than a friend. At the Orchestra of world politics, at the orchestra of politics in the Middle East, – repetitive exercise to get the best out of our endeavours is required as well. Required the repetitive exercise to increase the need of harmony, with the obligation players being ready to use their tools and instruments to make such harmony, this harmony all around, – despite differences, despite errors, despite tears at times.

 

When it was decided to go to the Moon, when it was decided to go for this goal, – it was not because it was easy but because it was hard. It was not because it was cheap but it was expensive and worthwhile to explore the wonders of nature, and to bring out the best of us in a common endeavour where everybody has it’s own role, – a role to bring those who were nominated and trained, – to visit that part of the universe not being explored as yet.

And yet, the universe of peace and harmony has never been explored that much, – as what music is able to do in harmony, as what we can in our efforts to explore the moon and all the others, – as what we are able to do in science and technology.

It is nearly as what Isaiah not literally once said almost 3000 years ago, – that the “prostitutes” do not only represent Rome, but that they represent all the corrupt powers, the evil powers and authorities of every age and every generation, powers still having their share in evil and massacres, – in immorality and abuse.

The Middle East is possibly the most dramatic scene of potential major violence, the most dramatic scene of emotions neither being controlled nor realistic. Ongoing conflict not being resolved, – as so many players are due to be replaced, as so many Governments are due to work through change in the spirit of hope and challenge to get the best out of our human endeavours.

Israel, some days ago, did sent warplanes into Syria with widespread condemnation of both Syria, Hezbollah and Iran, condemnation from Russia as well. Iran warned last week via Abdollahian that Iran would consider any attack on Syria as an attack on Iran itself.

Whilst world leaders try to seek aid for Syrians being the victims of their brutal regime, Israel’s warplanes did hit a convoy with surface-to-air missiles, likely Russian-made missile parts potentially being used in a possible pending attack on Israel. Those weapons were intended to be provided to Hezbollah in Lebanon, supported by Syria and Iran.

We know the Assad’s regime is failing after nearly two years of fending off the ongoing and justified rebellion, and Hezbollah probably wants to take hold of various weapons before the al-Assad regime gets crushed, – again supported by Syria when everything is lost. The last thing then to do is to divert the attention by supplying even chemical material to equip some of the Hezbollah Scud missiles. It is not surprising that Iran is responding the way it does, turning a blind eye to the violence inflicted by the Syrian authorities on its own people, but supporting Hezbollah inflicted violence, – providing a reason to retaliate if Israel would hit back.

Both White House spokesman Jay Carney and Victoria Nuland from the US State Department refused to comment on the Wednesday airstrike, with Israel not having much to comment either.

It looks like a simple incident but whilst the Syrian authorities are still entertaining their cruel efforts to hold on power with all means they have to kill, regardless age and gender, – the UN needs now to respond as requested by Syria and other nations, whilst Israel only tries and tried to prevent worse scenario’s as potentially being prepared.

Iran Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that Israel’s attack was “in line with the West’s policies of undermining the victories of the Syrian Government.”, with the ambassador for Syria in Lebanon saying that Syria reserves the right to a “surprise retaliation” against Israel .

Victories of the Syrian Government?

It shows how the dynamics are. It shows the evil in some existing systems not being overruled by the people younger in generation, avoiding conflict and war. Systems of evil being allowed at the Orchestra of world politics to kill eg it’s own citizens at massive scale, not in the name of Allah, – but in the name of corruption and holding on too brutal power. Syria eg again is a prime example, apart from a few other countries.

This is the reason that the US needs to keep a very close eye on the dangerous dynamics in the Middle East, – as those dynamics changing in a war machine of preparation affect us all once they escalate.

Neither music nor Conductors can change this, but the power of people and real leaders may change this when the efforts are there, – and the wind has been taken away from the sails of those who hate, those who kill regardless gender or age.

What happens here has neither to do with the authenticity of the Islam culture nor with a worldwide conflict between those who represent the West and those who have an Islāmic background. It’s the conflict between barbaric or evil elements and culture, the conflict between evil and civilisation. It’s about the insight that the travel of prejudice, narrow-mindedness and bigotry is fatal

Like the famous Conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim’s Youth Orchestra showed the coöperation between young Arabs and Israelis, who found common ground in the way we are as a people, – it’s the next generation of youngsters perhaps who may offer peace and coöperation in the Middle East, after all the evil offending participants have been taken away from the political arena of the Middle East.

Hence wisdom and restraint being required until this happens, but the day will come, – and we are all waiting for this.

It is like Gandhi once wrote: “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”

The time may come that war is asking us what we were doing all the time before it started, – and this is the reason that US role in the Middle East is vital until a new generation of peace makers takes over. Whilst wisdom is a matter of reflection, long and hard before we act, – it is Israel who failed to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas and Hezbollah continuing to mount attacks on Israeli’s citizens leading to military responses by Israel. All this serves fuelling the hatred against Israel with the USA being Israel’s major supporter, but the Middle East dynamics support as well the murderous activities of groups like al- Qaeda. It supports as well other evil systems in the Middle East, – and hatred seems to be the irrational engine of all activities of violence.

It seems hatred is the longest lasting pleasure in the Middle East, creative in it’s dynamic’s but creative as well as to the extinction of values and human rights, – hence our support for those youngsters turning away from the “masters” of hate, working on the harmony among people from all different backgrounds, – like some may find in the harmonies of music. Those people are the people who represent somehow the will of both God and Allah, – the same. And during their endeavours of tuning their instruments and playing together, – they will meet each other from heart to heart and work out the reason for which they were created, …regardless the settlements, the military, the defeat, and the tears at times.

Meanwhile the US needs to play its role. Trying to enforce peace in the mindset of people not ready for it is like painting on a wet wall. It does not help. Vision and mission to create an enduring peace and an enduring cooperation requires leadership receptive for the sentiments of all parties, – besides deep trustworthiness. We are not there as yet. We may not do it in this generation and even not perhaps in the next generation.

The main emphasis when people are not ready to talk and get a real understanding from where they are coming from is to try and avoid conflict and balance the powers as good as possible.

Israel is entitled to defend itself against eminent significant threats.

America’s role in the Middle East is an important one with an adequate US Administration now being place, as through reasoning and diplomatic actions with the right mind and skill set, – to give diversity and hopefully “non violence” a place. trustworthiness in any endeavours may give the cement to keep a fragile peace the least, ..and the last is more important than no peace at all. Whilst the US has obviously an important and influential role, – it’s not only the responsibility of the US as there is something like a “global responsibility” as well. A responsibility of nations being prepared, nations being able, – to take this supportive role on board.

Peace in the Middle East is a process of many little positive actions, providing forums where people can meet face to face to dissolve hatred and hardline policies. The US and others perhaps can only be the facilitator, – as when nothing changes in the heart and mindset of people, nothing will change in the world of the Middle East.

Finally, – history shows that the root of most evils is hatred. The art of real leadership when the heat is going up, amidst the dynamics of hatred, – is to try to diffuse the last in the most reasonable acts to prevent this hatred flowing into the most irreversible deeds of evil. Whilst this is not always possible, those acts are justified. Those acts like straight on meetings with enemies or foes need both talent and skill, besides foremost great compassionate and deep rooted courage. The courage not to refrain from encouraging both opponents or foes to renewal and change, – not to refrain from trying to rejuvenate responsible and reasonable thinking. And if possible, not to refrain from trying to prevent hardening existing perceptions, – as perceptions may soften in humble face to face meetings perhaps.

This is what seems to be required in the Middle East,
to prevent the tears of future generations….

The point is, – we either die together or we live together!

We can put up walls, – or build a cathedral!

Sure?

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 Question As How To Serve…


Albert Schweitzer, Etching by Arthur William H...
Albert Schweitzer, Etching by Arthur William Heintzelman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

–Marten Luther King,Jr.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Robert F. Kennedy

“We need to find the courage to say NO to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.”
Barbara de Angelis

SOME PEOPLE ASKED  me in which way they could serve in the best possible way, – and I smiled because they asked me.

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For those who don’t know, I serve my patients from a comfortable position being paid as a Family Physician in Australia. However I love what I do and look with gratitude on the things I received and still receive, – knowing that in all of this I am dependent on the work many people did before I was born, and during the time of my life until the present.

The best answer on the question as how to serve in the best possible ways can be given by those who serve or served best.

Those who went out in any kind of wilderness, – lacking money and recourses and build up their heartfelt dreams.

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There are different ways of serving.

I have neither vivid memory on my school friend who died to early at the age of 6 as due to childhood cancer, nor do I remember his face, – but he “served” me in the way he died with a peace you don’t often see.

Besides this he left me with one of Bach‘s most beautiful organ plays, played by Albert Schweitzer. This left me at an early place in life with a memory on something different from life itself. I am still grateful that this old school friend passed my way, not because of what he was, – but of what he was able to “plant” without knowing it.

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Sometimes, many years later, we do realise. In a way this is a secret of a kind we need to cherish, not by speaking about it when we do realise, but by allowing it to grow. So are human encounters at times of a nature we better not speak about, but our “awareness” is enough on its own and as such we respect life as it is without touching it. On other occasions we do good to show our gratitude at least ten times more than we tend to do.

There are 100 billionaires all over the world who could wipe out hunger with little more contribution. The difference between rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger. Some of them indeed do contribute but they are not the people who work in the front line against poverty, against war and against various abuses of human rights. If people ask me as how to serve, I tend to say to look at those people who do and find the answer in your own heart.

We are limited perhaps in our potential as due to nature and living conditions but there is neither limit nor ceiling to our potential to love and work our imagination the desired direction in our own circumstances.

It is as Albert Schweitzer once wrote about his work in Lambarena less then 100 years ago, – that anybody can create his or her’s own Lambarena. An affirmation only to illustrate that everyone can create his or her’s domain of care, and serve as such. Those who care do serve and the options are endless. Many examples are not seen by the world or valued for what they are.
Child soldiers who lost their innocence at an age far too young. Many of them did do terrible things but some of them reacted amazingly well by saving lives. People who fight the cruelty in central Africa, – within the domain of strong discomfort but perhaps with peace at heart. People who reach out without fame or name, saving friends and family amidst war.

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Fire- fighters entering houses with people, children, at risk to be burned, and they do this at risk for their own life. People providing aid in Syria now. Fathers and mothers protecting their children in the Congo, without caring for themselves anymore. People providing polio vaccinations in Pakistan despite Taliban death threats. Journalists working at the forefront of all those things to bring the news, at risk of their own life.

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Human encounters are essential before being able to serve as the memory of some people may enlarge what we are able to do.

And in our memory those people deserve honour.

The question as how to serve best is an interesting question, but much depends on the situation where you are and on both your desires and imagination, besides the level of love you feel for those desires.

Sometimes people may be put in a situation where they have no other choice than to serve as staying on the side line would be betrayal of one’s own conscience. Sometimes people go out and meet those situations by
choice.

Again it’s hard to say.

One thing is sure, we can’t wait for the moment everything and everything is ready because in such case we are not likely to begin to serve or reach out.

The other thing is true as well, – true that if we want to work on a dream, to build a ship, – that it is no point to drum up the people to collect the wood and other material. That there is no point to give them tasks of the work due to be done. Working this way is an error of judgement, as the starting point is to help people see what you see, and teach them the ways to get the dream into a reality, – to help them to buy into the endeavour themselves, and then it’s time to collect the wood and all the other things.

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Faith is to believe the things you don’t see, rewarded at times by seeing the things you believe. Time might seem to be a limiting factor but not where it comes to the frequency of love. Love is the prime substance of both our life and nature, the prime substance of both earth and heaven. Without this love there would be neither cosmos nor sun, neither earth nor life.

“For everything there is a time and place”, – so to say.

The other thing being true is that you don’t travel as you think, but you think as you travel. Neither is it true that as you attract you do love, – but as you love you do attract. True love and real care are indispensable and we don’t always touch what is beautiful, neither do we lose the opportunity to see anything which is beautiful, – whether it is a fair face or a plant, a fair sky or a dark cloud. We absorb the seeds in our own soul and this gives life, – and may give direction as where to go, as alert we need to be. One spark of fire may light ourselves and from that fire we may light the world. None of us is too small to serve and freedom can be gained by giving more of ourselves.

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Real love may reach the frequency of “the universe”, the last which may transform us as a transitional “human-being”, – through the awesome grace of God.

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/