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When America Leads From Behind

Mass murder of innocent Syrian people--Photo source www.endignorance.org

Mass murder of innocent Syrian people–Photo source http://www.endignorance.org

After a long busy day, many people search the web or switch on their cable television to know what is coming about in this uncertain world. On every international news channel and portal website, they see guiltless people are being deliberately harmed, tortured or killed every day. Around the world, from the Americas to Europe throughout Asia to Africa, traumatic reports and shocking footage of deadly explosions, mass murders and war casualties continue to come along very often.

Noticeably, the larger part of that savagery and bloodshed are taking place in Asia and Africa, where the dogma of “armed resistance is the solution” is fathered, in the turbulent Middle East, North Africa and southwestern Asia zones, in particular. Day to day, hundreds of innocent men and women, adolescents and children are falling dead or incapacitated here and there in many African countries as in Mali, Nigeria, Algeria, Tunis, Libya, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, and South Sudan, for instance; and throughout most of Asia like in Chechnya, China, Tibet, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria.

Political analysts, think tanks and nonaligned intellectuals are in search to identify the root causes of such upheaval and atrocities. They seek to find out what is in common among all those upset people, groups and nations; and how to end these terrible misfortunes and human sufferings.

For the most part, this worldwide havoc arrived as a result of many open issues, such as spread of poverty, corruption and misgoverning, lack of human development, interest-driven alliances with undemocratic regimes, cold-shouldering of peoples’ political drive and civil strives, underestimation of the effects of suppression and sectarian bias, and disengagement in resolving territorial conflicts and regional disputes. The tuning out of these crucial problems has actually paved the way for the rise of armed religious extremism, expansion of theoterrorism, sectarian partisanship and sectionalism, monomania of having nuclear weapons, usage of chemical weapons, wild uprisings and bloody showdowns with autocratic regimes, or some lethal mixture of these issues.

Unfortunately, the prime visible common element among the majority of those rebellious instances is the engagement of the Muslim people and Islamic fundamentalist groups through which they seek to change the political and socioeconomic situations of their countries—and around if viable. Yet the most common and correlative components among all cases are the long suffering of poverty, lack of human and socioeconomic development, spread of governments’ corruption, absence of real civil liberties and the prolonged oppressive rule of parasitic autocracies.

The best mirror image that resembles those compound adversities is the ongoing Syrian tragedy, which by all odds is the most awful catastrophe of the 21st century. Alas, the intensity and incidence of atrocities in Syria is unprecedented in the modern history of domestic armed conflicts and civil wars. Nevertheless, international organizations, like the so-called League of Arab States (LAS), alleged Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), United Nations (UN) and its irresponsible Security Council (SC), the U.S. tuned North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), disconcerted European Union(EU) and the current U.S Administration have proven to be ineffective and unreliable to deliver peace and security to this world.

On March 28, 2011, in his address to the nation on Libya, U.S. President, Barack Obama, was quoted as saying:

 “For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and as an advocate for human freedom.  Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges.  But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.  That’s what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks”…

He added:

“To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and -– more profoundly -– our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.  Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries.  The United States of America is different.  And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.” Unquote

Yet, when it comes to a non oil-rich country, like Syria, the undeniable fact is that two years of slaughter, massacres, mass graves and the recent usage of chemical weapons are sidelined in favor of a halfway political solution with a crueler dictator than Qaddafi, Mubarak and Ben Ali combined. Given Obama’s self-proclamation and rationales, it is reasonable enough to the Arab world and the many of other nations to lose confidence in the foreign policy of Mr. Obama Administration, not to speak of other double standard approaches.

Putin and Obama–photo source Carolyn Kaster/AP

Apart from discussing, here and now, the reincarnation of the old communist Russian standoff policy and the stretched out Iranian scheming and its denounced inciteful militarized engagement in the Arab world, most of which were cranked out as a result of weak motility of the Arab League, absence of European Union firm leadership and, above all, the retracting role of Obama’s Administration and its wimp concept of “leading from behind”. The fact remains that the leader of the free world along with its European and Arab allies are just chiming in condemnation announcements and false promises or busy in redrawing their movable redlines.

For that, the world of the free still remembers the fair-minded former U.S. president, Bill Clinton, who put an end to the massacres of Srebrenica and Zepa in Bosnia; they wonder what Mr. Clinton would have done to stop the ongoing Syrian carnages, if this was to happen at his time in office. Not like Obama, for certain.

Regrettably, meanwhile the effete Arab League and abeyant international community and its organizations are abandoning the least of their duties and principles: to provide adequate humanitarian aid to more than 5 million Syrian refugees and vagabonds, and medical supplies to more than two hundred thousand maimed and injured people— not to mention their collaboration in putting the slain of more than 90,000 innocent lives aside.

Needless to note that our world is neither living in peace nor running in order at all levels, whether on the political, socio-economic or security level. The causes and effects of that disorder are largely brought forth as a result of some misconceptions, ill decisions and malpractices made by one’s own community, government or nation. The bigger the role people and nations claim, the bigger the responsibilities they should hold.

To live in peace, the world needs wise liberal leadership and a potent leading group of nations (like the G20 or G-something instead of the veto-paralyzed Security Council) that uphold one universal strategy and criterion built on rendering liberty, justice and equality to all. Considering the past several decades of malfunction and misgoverning of the UN, SC, WB, IMF, LAS, OIC and others, the world needs to have a new-structured international organization and a number of fully annexed regional leagues that can enforce peace and security to all.

Otherwise, expect total chaos throughout the world.

 

Author’s Note: This article is also published at Arabian Gazette 

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32 comments on “When America Leads From Behind

  1. Pingback: When America Leads From Behind | Shahid Hussain Raja

  2. Shahid Hussain Raja
    March 6, 2015

    Reblogged this on Shahid Hussain Raja.

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  3. Pingback: When America Leads From Behind | Zarina's Weblog

  4. zarinaspeaks
    April 22, 2014

    Syrian catastrophe is because of US and Israel, without doubt

    Like

  5. zarinaspeaks
    April 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on Zarina's Weblog and commented:
    Syrian catastrophe is because of US and Israel, without doubt!

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      August 29, 2013

      Alas, no more humans . The world has become a jungle full of beasts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Christina Stockinger
        August 31, 2013

        no Mr. Moussalli, we can act as human beings, but it is definitively not easy and sometimes it needs long-term thinking instead of “simple” solutions of the “we have to do something!” type or stupidities like “surgical strikes”. The latter definitively are very much loved by all these technical “freaks”, who prefer “action” from thinking. And they bring a lot of money to the armament industry which never ends finding marvellous arguments for the sale of its production.

        Like

  6. T.E.Manning
    June 7, 2013

    For Paul Hill

    I go for Aristotle rather than Plato !

    My own work on integrated local development is based on first the individual and his famly, then three levels of anthropologically justified free cooperative structures with strict application of the principle of subsidiarity. That is, that whatever can be done at a lower level be done there.

    The three levels are :

    The extended famiy level with about 250 people (50 families), developed in Mesopotamia about 13.000 years ago. I call this the tank commission level.

    The group of clans with chief level with 1500-2000 people (350 families) and a first level of specialisation of tasks, developed about 7500 years ago. I call this the well commission level. It is usually formed by 6-8 tank commissions.

    A project area with about 50.000 people (10.000 families), which is the level of the Greek City State formed about 3500 years ago. It is usually formed by about 30 well commissions (200 tanks commissions). This is Aristotle’s level of self-sufficiency.

    Individual project areas have their own local money system, their own cooperative interest-free, cost-free micro-credit system, their own built-in three-tiered social security systems, etc. Single project areas cooperate first with adjacent ones, then with other project areas in the same region.

    You might care to take a look at the Powerpoint presentation

    http://www.integrateddevelopment.org/bakensverzetmodelpowerpoint20120124.ppt

    That’s about bottom-up reform.

    The website has a second main section with practical solutions to monetary reform.

    That’s the top-down reform.

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  7. Anonymous
    June 3, 2013

    In my view, Arab nations must act to bring peace and prosperity upon themselves. I am not so sure that the West or the USA for that matter are geniounly investing in peace, prosperity and democracy in the respective countries which suffer poverty, illitracy, mismanagement, authritarian bureacray and so forth, What it interests the West and the USA is i suspect, selling arms and pouring military aids to all fighting parties especailly via close friends countries. The arms industy is the moving force behind all this fighting and killings. Iraq had never had any bomb explosions , or suicidals individuals, or mass assisanations before the 2003! During the Iran-Iraq war, the 1991 war, I was discussing with many colleagues that the West, USA, china, Russia should held its weapon shippments to the fighting parties besides this, make an international law to ban any weapanory aid to no counrty. No one of course take this seriously, unfortunately.

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      June 4, 2013

      After thanking you for your reasonable comment, I would have loved to know who you are to forward my direct regards and discuss the matter further.

      Like

  8. T.E.Manning
    May 31, 2013

    Thanks Mohammad.

    I read your article with interest. And the correspondence on it as well.

    The entire United Nations system, the World Bank and the GATT (later WTO) were set up as part of the New World Order negotiated in 1944 in Bretton Woods by the victors of the second world war, in particular the anglo-saxon ones, and even more in particular their bankers, expressly to protect, further and guarantee their own interests for the future.

    Faced with economic and political power shfits, the United States produced The Statement of Principles of the Project the for the New American Century, Washington, 03 June, 1997.

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.tm

    This, one of the most horrifying documents ever produced by mankind, is the Foreign Policy of the United States. Set up for Bush Junior regimes, it has since been applied even more enthusiastically by Obama.

    You will fully understand its meaning when you see who signed it.

    The sole purpose of American Foreign policy is to defend and where possible extend U.S. strategic interests at whatever the cost. Including the war in Iraq designed TO BLOCK independent Iraqi oil supplies to avoid oil trading in other currencies and a reduction in prices for the world’s oil cartel. Including the war in Afghanistan to ensure control over the proposed trans-Afghanistan pipelines and the vast mineral deposits in the North East of the country. Including Libya for the oil there and the French uranium deposits in Niger.

    I do not think the U.S. has any direct strategic interest in Syria. U.S. armaments industries do of course, but they are safely selling their wares to the “rebels” through Qatar and Saudi Arabia anyway.

    Israel prefers Assad, although he is supported by Iran, their enemy number one, because he, Assad, helps them keep the Hezbollah under control and acts as a buffer between Iran and Israel. The last thing Israel wants is a Shia regime running the show in Damascus a few kilometers from their border. Let alone one armed by modern US and European weapons. They might even shoot some Israeli planes down.

    The last thing any of them, U.S., Russia, Iran, Israel, Assad, cares about is loss of life and destruction. It’s just “collateral” damage, whether its thousands, millions or even billions of people. Unless, of course, it’s their OWN people, their OWN physical structures.

    Capitalism means the accumulation of financial means for (almost entirely non-productive) investment, and the power associated with holding it, including as much control as possible over the earth’s physical resources.

    That means good old neo-liberal competition between people, companies, countries and even continents. These are the forces that are running the world today. They include control over the press and most information channels. We are already well beyond Goerge Orwell’s 1984 world.

    My own work, as you know, is based on free cooperativism in financial, social, productive and service structures at all levels. This offers rapid and simple solutions to the world’s problems. The entire financial system for instance, can be changed, in theory peacefully, literally overnight.

    But the neo-liberal world will not go down without a fight. So, as you suggest, there’s going to be one hell of a bust-up first, with a pretty good probabilty we finish up with even more extreme totalitarian regimes…..

    Cheers

    Terry Manning
    Director
    NGO Stichting Bakens Verzet
    Netherlands
    http://www.integrateddevelopment.org

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      June 1, 2013

      Terry,
      Your comment arrived, as always, full of logic and strong viewpoint that could serve as the core subject of an essay.
      Thank you
      All the best

      Like

    • Paul "Chip" Hill
      June 3, 2013

      Terry… well written and stated. It seems that you would support the age old maximum offered by Plato that states “Might makes right”. Like it or not, that maximum remains the only absolute law – international or otherwise. The political maximum offered by Plato, so very long ago, is tantamount to Darwin’s law of “survival of the fittest”… cold and brutal; however, mankind has demonstrated time and again his ability to act ruthlessly and brutally.

      In spite of mankind’s evolving into a somewhat nobler animal, we are still driven by selfish desires to take what we desire by any means capable of producing the desired result.

      Like

  9. Dr. Robin Chandler
    May 29, 2013

    The world’s fate hangs daily in the balance. We have all heard this many times. The balance of power is shifting,but few of us have any idea of the spectre of challenges faced by the “leader of the free world.” So , please, while you are busy criticizing a President you claim “has no backbone”, remember these foreign and domestic accomplishments with citations. Without question, resolving violence, terrorism, war mongers, corruption, greedy multinationals, the ubiquitous class struggle, human exploitation, the excessive materialism of the West, devious political interests, and old world leaders who need to revamp their countries’ governance toward the rule of law and equality-MUST happen now! Mr Obama is without ” wings and a halo”. Problems at home in the US were allowed to deteriorate as President Obama stepped into the Office of the President, especially two financially and politically costly wars. The Syrian debacle is a holocaust which, agreeing with Mr. Moussali, must end with UN Peacekeeping forces following a peace accord that is developed by the Syrian people themselves. It is the same in every nation for several millennium now, but we never learn until it is too late and lives are lost. Attitudes and behaviors need to transform first. Why is this so difficult to grasp?Peace negotiation skills, among other ‘global citizenship skills’, will eventually be taught in primary and secondary schools and, thus, our values changed in the near future. But unless you are willing to change yourself, the world outside will never change.

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    • Dr. Paul "Chip" Hill
      May 30, 2013

      Dr. Chandler, I did not say Mr. Obama had no backbone… I implied that he had a weak backbone; and, that he panders to a growing domestic constituency that relies more and more on big government to take care of individual wants and desires – I did not say needs. Long gone is the America of the greatest generation – a time when America acted in such fashion that we molded our own future. A time when we overcame a great depression, was the arsenal for the free world, played a major role in the defeat of Hitler and Mussolini, introduced the atomic age, put a man on the moon, introduced the computer age, and fought – and won – a Cold War.

      The last American President that acted his part was Ronald Reagan; Bush 1 & 2 less so; and, although rarely, even Clinton had occasion to flex US power. Regarding Vietnam, even Nixon made needed – albeit unpopular – decisions to apply US force with the secret bombings of Cambodia and Laos. This President’s foreign policy consists of a great deal of sabre rattling with his ‘line in the sand’ rhetoric/approach which is more and more being seeing as little more than the words of a paper tiger.

      Granted, the US is faced with huge domestic issues; however, the global neighborhood is now so small that the inability to deter aggression is seen as a green light for any thug with a military force to enslave and abuse a population. Never in the history of mankind have we been so privy to the abuses and neglect that governments are visiting upon their own constituents; and, for the US to sit back and take a peek-a-boo approach to what is happening in Syria – while Russia continues to supply the government with military hardware – is appalling.

      I offer that we need ‘not’ commit ground forces. In consultation with our Arab allies and NATO, we should set up a ‘no fly’ criteria and strictly enforce it. Enjoin NATO with the Arab League and put most of the onus on Arabs with NATO air and missile support. Turkey is desperately ready to act as a regional power in the Middle East… let them. The point is, regarding the Syrian crisis, the United States is the key actor and decision maker in any scenario I can see developing. Yet, the US acts like some bashful, high school freshman rather than a seasoned veteran and world power. (The impression of how the US is responding to Syrian developments is the responsibility of our President; and, unfortunately, he appears much more the bashful high school freshman than the seasoned veteran and leader of the free world.)

      One last point I will offer… do not count on the United Nations for any relief. The UN Security Council is ineffective and not capable of acting on this issue. UN peacekeepers are an extremely poor substitute for stifling the criminal actions of the current government in Syria. After it is all over, and the government is removed, perhaps the UN peacekeepers have a role to play in maintain the peace. Until such time, the UN needs to stay out of the mess of toppling abusive regimes such as that of Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

      Like

  10. Anonymous
    May 28, 2013

    Mr Moussalli,

    Good article, yet again.

    We touched upon Syria’s conflict a few months ago, and my position has not changed. The tragic loss of innocent civilian life is too high a price to pay to rid Syria of a Assad. A peaceful transition would have been a far better outcome. Sadly, the positions of the warring parties are deeply entrenched, Assad’s opposition fractured, so that unless there is external intervention the conflict may have to be allowed to “burn itself out”.

    International conflicts often have unique characteristics, making it difficult for external parties to intervene militarily within established international law and treaties, or with a standard template e.g. NATO’s intervention in Bosnia.

    Article 51 of the UN Charter gives its members “…the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

    Strictly speaking, Assad is acting within the rights prescribed in the UN Charter to defend Syria from armed attack. The United Nations Security Council reaffirmed this position more than a decade earlier, in response to the September 11 attack on WTC, when it unanimously adopted Resolution 1373 explicitly “reaffirming the inherent right of individual and collective self defence as recognized by the charter of the United Nations.”, effectively giving USA a green light to take military action to defend itself.

    John Yoo, the author of the Jan 2002 ‘Torture Memo’ canvassed the applicability of Article 51 in USA’s response to the attack (Iraq and Afghanistan), by stating that “This right of self defense is a right of effective self-defense. In other words, the victim has the right to use force against the aggressor who has initiated an “armed attack” until the threat has abated.”

    For the moment, the Syrian conflict is largely confined within its borders. It is unlikely that the UNSC will intervene, unless the conflict spreads to neighboring countries such as Lebanon or Israel and destabilising their borders. I would expect China and Russia to veto any resolution that calls on military intervention in Syria.

    President Obama is unlikely to commit to a unilateral military intervention in Syria, for a range of reasons, war fatigue being one of them, lack of funding and legality being among the others.

    At this stage of the conflict the best stick available to the ‘international community’ is the threat of bringing charges of crimes against humanity against specific individuals, and breach of conventions of war if chemical weapons are used in the conflict. President Obama has publicly warned Assad that use of chemical weapons is the line in the sand, assuming that it would be Assad who is most likely to use them. However, based on the evidence presented, it appears it is the rebels who have used chemical weapons.

    On whose side should the international community intervene? Too many conflicting interests (USA/West vs Russia/China) means the status quo will continue for a while longer. As many analysts now predict, Syria is likely to be fractured into three parts. The North to the Kurds, the center to Assad and the rest to the rebels. .

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      May 28, 2013

      Dear Mr. Cvetkovski,
      I acknowledge that you have a good viewpoint, yet allow me in brief to clear that I haven’t call for U.S. military intervention in Syria. I believe this the responsibility of the failing UN. ‘m sure that the Syrian war is going to burn the whole region, from Israel to Lebanon to Jordan to turkey and Iraq and so forth, if it was not stopped at this time . Add up that, from a human point of view, this genocide should not be tolerated for any reason, otherwise we are encouraging other regimes, like North Korea and Iran to follow since there are no retaliation penalties

      The invasion of the soviet of Afghanistan has lead to the rise of AL Qaeda, to the deplorable 9/11 attacks to US response in Afghanistan to Iraq war to …the current chaos. We should not repeat this course, otherwise we will see the spread of terror here and there , this time on a large scale

      Like

  11. Christine Onimbo
    May 26, 2013

    Right livelihood or peace for that matter, is not just a personal matter but a collective responsibility As much as we may judge others let us get on with doing our good work..I appreciate Muslim brothers and sisters who do the good works ,which include shifting from self consciousness where the social injustices , corruptions, separation, impossibility and other crimes reside, to God consciousness where none of these exist and everything is possible. I pray for you brother Mohammad for more strength to carry on your work without which I would be least informed. Much can be done from inside out.

    Like

  12. Eli Levine
    May 26, 2013

    I think this “let it burn itself out” approach is actually the best thing that the United States can do at the present time in the present conditions. You must remember the war-weariness of the American public and the controversies that are cropping up as a result of our operations in Libya (which, btw, was spearheaded by the French). So, I don’t think it’s weakness or a lack of guts. I think it’s a good calculation of force, and perhaps, even a demonstration of learning the lessons from the past. Do we want to let another group of al-Qaeda affiliates take over in Syria?

    Think about it.

    And, Chip, I think that it’s a gross mischaracterization that the President is just another “tax and spend” liberal, since he has, in the past, cut taxes for the middle and lower classes while actually causing the deficit to go down. Remember, it was your fiscally responsible friend, Mr. Bush, who racked up those deficits in the first place by cutting taxes for the rich to record lows and then by bumbling into two wars that we’ve since lost, thanks to his “gutsiness” and “decisive leadership.”

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      May 27, 2013

      Dear Mr.Levine,
      Though I respect and understand your views regarding going to war, learning the lesson, and “let it burn itself out” analysis, yet I don’t agree with that. This is, however, because the issue has twofolds. One is being about politics, while the other , which is more important, is about human lives and the responsibility of all, especially those who claim to be the free, to help and try to stop the killing. What makes me disagree with you is that you don’t approach the issue from both angles
      Thank you and best regards

      Like

      • Eli Levine
        May 28, 2013

        Mr. Moussalli.

        I agree with you that it would be ideal if the United States and the rest of the world, could intervene effectively in Syria, end the conflict in the democratic favor of the people and allow them to regrow with love and attention by the rest of the world. However, I think that the politics of the matter is very important, since it helps determine what gets done and how.

        The United States is ultimately only going to act in its own self interests, much like the rest of the world’s countries. How they define self-interest and what they do to achieve it is up to each of the world’s societies by default at present.

        Personally, if I were Mr. Obama, I would be talking with Vladimir Putin directly and constantly on the matter. Unfortunately, the Russians have dug themselves into a hole by backing Assad that they’re not going to easily dig themselves out of. Instead of siding with the people of Syria and make an ally out of them, they chose to side with the regime that was poorly grounded in its own society, and therefore, unstable to begin with. Now, they have to really make a mea culpa to the Syrian people and the Syrian opposition, if they’re going to have any chance to build a new relationship with a new governing faction. That would take generations, as people would have to naturally die off who would remember the Russian munitions that were used to kill their friends, families and comrades in arms. Stories get past throughout generations, and thus, conflicts become intractable for extended periods of time.

        There is also the outstanding issue with the US’s relations with the Muslim/Arab world and, indeed, its relations with the non-Western European world in general to consider. There may be significant factors within the society that would just frame this as America being the global cop again (whether it is or is not accurate to say this would have to be examined more closely by intelligence gathering and investigative media techniques). In any case, an emotionally persuasive counternarrative would have to be developed in order to make that happen.

        While you can critique the double standard between Libya and Syria, it must also be considered that there might be a double standard because the situations and conditions are different, therefore, requiring different responses and techniques.

        I hope this helps to address some of my own concerns for you, about a US or NATO led intervention in Syria itself.

        Like

        • Mohammad S. Moussalli
          May 28, 2013

          Dear Mr. Levine,
          since you and Mr. Cvetkovski have a matching analysis, I prefer to post my same response:
          I acknowledge that you have a good viewpoint, yet allow me in brief to clear that I haven’t call for U.S. military intervention in Syria. I believe this the responsibility of the failing UN. I‘m sure that the Syrian war is going to burn the whole region, from Israel to Lebanon to Jordan to turkey and Iraq and so forth, if it was not stopped at this time . Add up that, from a human point of view, this genocide should not be tolerated for any reason, otherwise we are encouraging other regimes, like North Korea and Iran to follow since there are no retaliation or penalties

          The invasion of the soviet of Afghanistan has lead to the rise of AL Qaeda, to the deplorable 9/11 attacks to U.S. response in Afghanistan to Iraq war to …the current chaos. We should not repeat this course, otherwise we will see the spread of terror here and there , this time on a large scale

          Like

    • Paul "Chip" Hill
      June 5, 2013

      Eli, the Bush tax cuts were approved by a democratically controlled House. Also quite interesting. I see that you hedge your contempt for Mr. Bush by simply pointing the finger of blame for the US fiscal meltdown at him; however, let me remind you that when Mr. Bush pushed for fiscal reform of Fannie Mae – while there was still time to prevent the meltdown, and even warned that mortgage practices being employed in the US were an insolvent time bomb – it was the democrats that stifled the reform.

      I do not mind laying blame, I just want us to be fair with spreading the responsibilities around to all the folks that have ownership in the US economic debacle.

      Also. I think you confuse the military actions of the US winning those wars with the political actions of losing the peace. All you need to is look at the military records of Afghanistan and Iraq before US intervention, and the resulting combat consequences, and you can only arrive at only one outcome… decisive military victories in both cases. As for your (corrected) position that the US has lost the peace.,, maybe, maybe not.

      It seems to me that America’s patience for winning the peace is non-existent.Before Germany reunited, we were in Western Europe for 3 generations; the same in Japan and South Korea. In winning the peace, the political responses were set up by a generation of Americans that understood that the political act of affecting change was measured in decades, not months. When it comes to winning the peace, America today does not possess the stomach or the patience to do what is necessary and take longterm action, politically. Nonetheless, do not confuse war with police actions. Going in, Saddam had the 6th largest standing military force in the world. After the aerial blitz, it took less than a week to wipe that force from the face of the Earth. Again, this is said to point out the obvious, where the US has come up short is in winning the peace, not the war.

      Like

      • Mohammad S. Moussalli
        June 5, 2013

        A very strong viewpoint Paul

        Like

      • Eli Levine
        June 5, 2013

        Chip,

        Winning peace is the same thing as winning the war. If anything, the going in to thump someone on the head is just a battle in the long standing process of fighting for what would work out best. The US has not yet learned that people from different cultures are going to behave and prioritize differently than ourselves. What are our Western notions of human rights, but simply that? Western. Not Arab or Afghani or Persian or Chinese or even Japanese or Singaporean, etc etc.

        So yes, George Bush did lose two wars for us in Afghanistan and Iraq. He and his cohorts thumped ’em good, but failed to actually produce anything positive from the thumpin’.

        And, yes, he and his cohorts were also behind the screw up in the banks and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, which were using the economic logic of the right when making their decisions. Who said that everyone should spend without care for the costs or buy homes that they could not and should not afford? Mr. Bush.

        While I do agree that the Democrats have their own weaknesses, I do not think that it does not change the fact that the main culprits in these scenarios have been consistently either the agents of the Right (the Republicans direct) or the ideology of the Right (the Democrats going along with what’s been placed before them).

        I, for my part, would like to help everyone get better at governing, such that we can all live in a better world together.

        But the waste has to be called waste, and dealt with as such.

        Like

        • Paul "Chip" Hill
          June 6, 2013

          Eli, we must agree to disagree.

          I think the world is a safer and better place without Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. Obviously, you think differently. The US possessed the power – and therefore the authority… might makes right – to impose its will and remove these men and their support systems. A minority population that ruled the majority in Iraq were forced to cede power to the majority. Through the ballot box and the classroom, women were given the opportunity participate more fully as equal citizens in their own countries. Compared to pre-war circumstances, infrastructure was surpassed in both nations while under US/allied occupation. Given these examples, I must say that your vision of “actually produce(ing) anything positive from the thumpin’” seems quite shortsighted. You appear to be a prime example of the modern America that wants instant gratification… peace measured on a time clock. Unlike earlier generations, America today is simply unwilling to commit the patience to winning the peace.

          We won the wars… we lost the peace.

          Like

  13. Vikram
    May 26, 2013

    Excellent essay, Mohammad. Unfortunately the US and the world turn every time to certain well-known and anticipated diplomatic measures like sanctions, which a rogue regime is already prepared for, followed by the short-sighted measure of arming the rebels. Never mind that in many cases the rebels we arm aren’t especially liberal in outlook or even a desirable alternative. The insurgents in Iraq are all as corrupt as the government. And once the mujahideen of Afghanistan turned into the Taliban and their rivals, we once again were stuck looking for an outside solution to impose.
    Democracy cannot be imposed from the outside, as the neo-cons fantasize. It must come from within. The former Yugoslavia is stable and democratic because they followed the book From Dictatorship to Democracy, by Gene Sharp, and used a nonviolent strategy that never fails when it is tried fully and allowed to work. They then taught the Egyptians who led the nonviolent overthrow of Mubarak.
    We must become as capable and confident in deploying the weapons of nonviolence as we are in deploying drones and CIA arming of rebels. When we do, we achieve lasting and peaceful solutions. It will also reinforce to the world that Islam is peaceful at its heart–after all, the Prophet practiced nonviolence for most of his life, except when he needed to defend himself. When he returned to Mecca, the city welcomed him. He didn’t take it by force of arms but by soul-force.
    Thanks as always for your insights,
    Vikram

    Like

    • Mohammad S. Moussalli
      May 27, 2013

      Dear Vikram,
      Your comment holds a lot of common sense and realism. though I agree with most, yet I would like to note that I’m not calling for imposing of democracy from above (which I wrote about it long before, see my published work section). I’m calling for interference of the strong and free nantions, the international community, to stop the massacres the way they deem possible. Sometimes we have to light a small fire around the big fire to stop the fire from expanding to al.
      Best regards and thank you

      Like

  14. Paul "Chip" Hill
    May 25, 2013

    Mohammad, as always your comments prove to be astute and well stated. Mr. Obama may be a fine individual; however, he has proven ill prepared to hold the office of President.

    The American politic has changed. The majority of voters in the US now consist of those desiring that government take care of more individual needs and wants. Just a few years ago, US domestic fiscal policy nearly bankrupted the country. Mr. Obama’s position was to spend more and give away more – federal resources, bailouts, and social welfare. He certainly is much more concerned with the domestic picture within the US than any actions needed outside the immediate US border.

    Traditionally, being a US President required making decisions that were not always popular at home… I will call it political guts. I fear Mr. Obama does not possess much of that entity as he does not act like a President. Do not anticipate him ‘stepping up’ with US power being applied to deter the violence. The Arab world will necessarily need to await a new US President in 2016, and, hope for a man/woman that occupies the office that possesses a stronger backbone.

    Like

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