Showing posts with label World News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World News. Show all posts

Monday, August 11, 2014

Until There Is Plurality...

The political world is all in a tizzy today as Hillary Clinton described the president's decision not to support the Syrian rebels early on as a "failure." Let's set aside the fact that her motivations were purely political and likely planned far ahead of time by both her and the White House. What I'm wondering today is this: what action would have been better and why?

The issue here is the massive growth of ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in both Syria and Iraq. Many of the president's critics seem to think we could have prevented this from occurring. How, exactly? We tried taking over Iraq and staying there for years and that didn't work. We've been nation building in Afghanistan for nearly 13 years and that hasn't worked. In Libya, we helped the rebels get rid of Gaddafi and that didn't work.

And who exactly we were supposed to arm in Syria? The rebels weren't even soldiers and were made up of doctors, lawyers and ordinary citizens. They wouldn't be able to fight against the power of a state run military. Further, the various factions in Syria (as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya) all hate each other and are mostly enemies of the United States, the one exception being the Kurds in Northern Iraq whom we are now arming and assisting with an air campaign.

In looking at all of this information, a pattern emerges. These turbulent countries are filled with people who don't like each other. Juxtapose this simple fact with the two Arab Spring countries that haven't had any of these issues-Kurdistan and Tunisia. These two countries contain citizens that do like each other and thus, have a desire for plurality. They are also two nations that have zero involvement from the United States which likely also contributes to their sunny disposition.

Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are never going to be stable countries until there is a desire for plurality in each nation. No sole power on earth (especially the United States) can force that on people. We can, of course, protect the innocent and our interests as we are right now in Iraq but until we get the buy in from the world community, there is nothing to be done.

Blaming President Obama for all these problems and calling his policies a failure is ludicrous.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Religious Freedom in Saudi Arabia

A very hopeful piece which I found illustrates that it's best to leave behind stereotypes.

Mr. Awda, alone among Saudi clerics, openly welcomed the Arab uprisings of 2011, and even published a book called “Questions of Revolution.” Promptly banned here but widely disseminated on the Internet, the book drew on Islamic texts and history to reach some very unorthodox conclusions: that democracy is the only legitimate form of government; that Islam does not permit theocracy; that separation of powers is required; that the worst despotism is that practiced in the name of religion.

I've come a long way with my horrible bias and prejudice towards Muslims. I let my anger over the 9-11 attacks cloud my judgment and that was very short sighted and fundamentally flawed. Most of what changed me I don't write about much on here. The general reason are the students that I have had the absolute honor to know in the last few years that are of the Islamic faith. These young men and women have showed me that there is always hope for a strong bridge between the East and the West.

Of course, the hope extends beyond me. The conservatives of the Islamic world (like our own conservatives here) aren't going to last if they don't change.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Syrian Nightmare

A recent article in the Times shows just how bad the situation is in Syria.

The government bombards neighborhoods with explosive barrels, missiles, heavy artillery and, the United States says, chemical weapons, then it sends in its allies in Hezbollah and other militias to wage street warfare. It jails and tortures peaceful activists, and uses starvation as a weapon, blockading opposition areas where trapped children shrivel and die. 

The opposition is now functionally dominated by foreign-led jihadists who commit their own abuses in the name of their extremist ideology, just last week shooting a 7-year-old boy for what they claimed was apostasy. And some of those fighters, too, have targeted civilians and used siege tactics.

I can barely imagine how awful the situation is there for any average citizen that stayed behind. We were very smart not to get involved and I suppose it's just going to continue until so many people are dead that there isn't any country left.

This terrible thought led me to wonder what kind of a country will be left for Assad or someone else to govern. Who would want to rule such a place?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ukraine Inks Deal With EU

The EU and the Ukraine signed an association agreement yesterday but it got little notice in the press. Odd, considering that this was the spark that lit the flame which started all the instability in the region. Perhaps the "liberal" media has become too obsessed with either the "Obama is weak" meme or wringing their hands over the "fact" that "Obama is weak"

Regardless, the focus should be on this agreement because it's exactly why Vladimir Putin has already lost. It is the first step of trade and economic integration with Europe that won't stop with Ukraine.

The EU also announced it will speed up similar association deals with Georgia and Moldova, it said in its statement: The European Union reconfirms its objective to further strengthen the political association and economic integration with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. We confirm our aim to sign the Association Agreements, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, which we initiated in Vilnius last November, no later than June 2014.

As I have said many times in the past, the West's soft, economic power always wins in the long run. Sooner or later, Putin will have no choice but to fall in line like everyone else.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Is The Ukraine Situation A Fight We Can't Win and Russian Can't Lose?

John A. Mazis posits this question in a recent column in the Strib and while I don't agree with everything he writes, he does have a voice that needs to be heard.

While President Vladimir Putin is not a democratic leader, he is elected (voting irregularities notwithstanding) and is still popular in Russia. His reasons for intervening in Crimea, and maybe elsewhere in Ukraine, are grounded in concrete security concerns as well as in history. His intervention aims at securing the safety of Ukraine’s sizable Russian minority and safeguarding his country’s dominance by keeping the West from encroaching on Russia’s traditional sphere of influence.

This is the heart of the matter, really. Ukraine wants to be part of Europe, not Russia. Pro-Russian forces within the country and in Russia. This is more of a European issue than a United States issue. Of course, President Obama is being measured for his manliness right now by some (not all, thankfully) in the Republican Party in how he responds to this crisis. I think that the barometer should be placed firmly on how the EU, particularly Germany, responds. They are the ones on the hot seat, not the president.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The UN Report on North Korea

The United Nations has released a scathing report of the situation inside of North Korea and I say this long overdue. I am so thoroughly disgusted by this that I can hardly write to be honest with all of you.

Some of the key points:

Arbitrary detention, torture, executions and prison camps

The police and security forces of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea systematically employ violence and punishments that amount to gross human rights violations in order to create a climate of fear that pre-empts any challenge to the current system of government and to the ideology underpinning it. The institutions and officials involved are not held accountable. Impunity reigns.

Violations of freedom of thought, expression and religion

The state operates an all-encompassing indoctrination machine that takes root from childhood to propagate an official personality cult and to manufacture absolute obedience to the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.


It is a rigidly stratified society with entrenched patterns of discrimination... Discrimination is rooted in the songbun system, which classifies people on the basis of state-assigned social class and birth, and also includes consideration of political opinions and religion. Songbun intersects with gender-based discrimination, which is equally pervasive.

Abductions and enforced disappearances from other countries

Since 1950, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has engaged in the systematic abduction, denial of repatriation and subsequent enforced disappearance of persons from other countries on a large scale and as a matter of state policy.

Violations of the freedom of movement and residence

The state decides where citizens must live and work, violating their freedom of choice... This has created a socioeconomically and physically segregated society, where people considered politically loyal to the leadership can live and work in favourable locations, whereas families of persons who are considered politically suspect are relegated to marginalised areas.

Violations of the right to food and related aspects of the right to life

The state has used food as a means of control over the population. It has prioritised those whom the authorities believe to be crucial to maintaining the regime over those deemed expendable.

Essentially, nothing that we did not already know. So what can we do about it?

At first glance, the answer seems like nothing, given that China's feathers will be ruffled and the American voter is very weary of war. North Korea doesn't seem to want to advance beyond her current borders and obviously has a vested interest in keeping their little concentration camp of a country intact. Yet the human rights violations demand action. Perhaps we could ramp up our covert activity in the country and get a more clear assessment of what it would take to take out the people that are engaging in these actions.

Clearly, this is one of the greatest humanitarian crises we have faced since World War II. It's been going on a long time and it needs to force, if necessary.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Aligning Interests

Could our next ally in the Middle East be Iran? This latest piece in the Times posits that it may end up being true.

While the two governments quietly continue to pursue their often conflicting interests, they are being drawn together by their mutual opposition to an international movement of young Sunni fighters, who with their pickup trucks and Kalashnikovs are raising the black flag of Al Qaeda along sectarian fault lines in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Given the new moderate government in Iran, I think it's more than possible. When I read this article, I was instantly reminded of CSM's cover story from a few weeks ago that offers incredible insight into the real Iran as opposed to what we see in our media. Editor in Chief of CSM, John Yemma, had this to say as an introduction to Scott Peterson's piece.

Iran is not just any nation. It is a pillar of civilization. In its 2,700-year history, Persian culture has contributed richly to human knowledge in math, medicine, chemistry, religion, philosophy, poetry, agriculture, and architecture. Modern Iranians prize education, intellect, science, and the arts. However divided Iranians may be about the course their nation should take, however drawn to Western ideas and values many are, there is no doubt within Iran about Iran’s worth and dignity.

We do indeed have a great deal in common with the Iranian people. This is not a backwards culture but a pillar of human civilization dating back to our dawn as a people. As CSM points out as well, they may indeed be our new best friend.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

What Will 2014 Bring?

It's always fun at the beginning of a new year to predict what may happen. I've enjoyed reading all the partisan predictions for 2014 over the last few days that have ranged from the likely to the absurd so I figured I should throw out a few of my own.

Barring some outlying incident, the economy will continue to improve and unemployment will drop to below 6 percent. GDP will be steady at 3-4 percent for each of the four quarters. This will be the number one factor in the 2014 elections. For those of you inside the right wing bubble, our country is facing imminent economic collapse because of the liberals so nothing really new here.

The Affordable Care Act will be a 2014 campaign issue but not in the way the GOP would like it to be. The hundreds of thousands of Americans who will be benefiting from this law will dwarf those who are complaining about it and turn out to vote. The nervous and hyperventilating Democrats will suddenly become calm and happily stamp the ACA to their foreheads:)

After primary season is over in the Spring, GOP House members will pass comprehensive immigration reform. The new law will largely be the same one that was authored by Marco Rubio, Republican Senator from Florida. Political reality will become quite stark for Republicans this year in terms of the Latino vote and they will have no choice.

Failing to extend unemployment insurance for the long term unemployed will erase the political capital gained from the poor rollout of the Affordable Care Act. The Right's failure to address the issue of inequality with anything other than failed economic ideas and bloviating platitudes will take larger chunks out of the electorate for them.

There will be another school shooting and the Gun Cult will scream about Hitler coming to take their guns away, stomp down the hallway to their rooms, and act like belligerent adolescents.

The settled science of climate change will continue to be on display throughout the year. The Right will scream about Stalin coming to take their freedoms away, stomp down the hallway to their rooms, and act like belligerent adolescents.

President Obama's approval ratings will come back up again (they are already) and his 89th political death will quickly be forgotten.

For the 2014 election, the House will largely remain unchanged with either party picking up or losing a few seats. In the Senate, we can say goodbye to Mitch McConnell, Mary Landrieu, the Democratic seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia. That's a net loss of three seats which would put the Dems at 50 + Bernie Sanders and Angus King who caucus with them. Of course, that's how it looks now without the possible surprise retirement of Susan Collins or the GOP deciding to run far right candidates in the states they should easily pick up. Throw in some more Todd Akins and Richard Murdocks into the mix and nothing in the Senate really changes with the Democrats still holding the majority.

The most interesting races of the 2014 will be the governor's races. Governors Brewer, Heineman and Perry are all retiring. Rick Scott, Tom Corbett, Rick Snyder, and Scott Walker are going to have tough reelection fights. I see the Democrats taking most of these seats and holding on to the very blue states where they are running for reelection. The only one I really see holding on is Scott Walker in Wisconsin. I could be wrong because the state where I grew up really hasn't improved since he took office but I just don't see Kathy Burke beating him. He has moderated his language and criticized the crazies in his own party just enough to win the middle and set himself up for a presidential run.

Well, those are my predictions. What are yours?

Friday, December 06, 2013

A Very Overheated Religious War

The situation in the Central African Republic is simply terrible. Roving gangs of Christian extremists in the capital of Bangui have been targeting Muslim neighborhoods and wantonly killing people in the name of their God for retribution against Muslims gangs that have done the same. I'm not sure what God they worship but it certainly isn't the Christian one. Thou shall not kill, remember?

French troops are arriving in the coming days to hopefully keep the peace. They are also sending air support to hopefully quell any future uprisings. AP is reporting that the French are reluctantly going in which strikes me as complete bullshit as they are partly responsible for the situation on the ground. The CAR has never gotten over the Scramble for Africa. French meddling in the region created the power struggles that we see today. So, this is largely blowback from colonization over a century ago.

It's going to take a lot more than 1200 troops to stop what is now clearly genocide. The United Nations needs to have a robust and permanent presence there and the French need to invest far more resources (especially financial) than they are now. It's very quickly becoming too late and far too many people have died.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Deal

The United States has negotiated a treaty with Iran regarding its nuclear program. These are elements of the deal reached Sunday between Iran on one side and Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany on the other, according to a fact sheet issued by the White House. The initial agreement will be valid for six months.

URANIUM ENRICHMENT.  Iran is allowed to continue enriching uranium to a level of 5 per cent, but will stop enriching at higher levels. Uranium enriched to higher levels will be diluted in order to prevent its use in nuclear weapons. Stocks of lower-enriched uranium will be immediately converted into material that makes it more difficult to turn into weapons material. Enrichment plants will not be expanded, and no new plants will be built.

ARAK REACTOR.  Construction will stop at the Arak reactor, which is of concern because it would produce plutonium as a side product. Work on making fuel for the reactor will stop Iran will not build a reprocessing facility, so that no plutonium can be separated from the reactor's spent fuel and can thus not be used for a nuclear warhead.

INSPECTIONS.  Inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency will get access to additional sites in order to monitor implementation of the agreement. Iran will grant daily access to its uranium-enrichment sites.

SANCTIONS.  The six powers will not impose new sanctions. Embargoes will be suspended for the sectors of precious metals, car production, petrochemical exports. The group of six will also allow purchases of Iranian oil at low levels. Tuition fees by Iranian students abroad will be unfrozen. The six nations will improve Iran's access to imports of food and medicines.

Based on these terms, it's pretty clear how desperate the Iranians were to rejoin the world economy. From a financial standpoint, they are really in a bad way and had no choice. As I have said many times, the most powerful weapons the world has are democracies and free markets. There's just too much money to be made.

Obviously, this would have not happened if Iran had not just elected a new leader,President Hassan Rouhani. And, while this isn't cause to run out and declare warming trend between our two countries, it is an important first step towards normalization. Kudos to John Kerry and his team for getting the job done on this one!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

World News Roundup

Turing to world news, the biggest story of the last few day is the massive destruction in the Philippines caused by what may very well be the biggest storm the world has ever seen. The images we have been seeing for the past couple of days have been positively heartbreaking. According to the BBC, Up to 10,000 are said to have died in Tacloban city and hundreds elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands are displaced.

The typhoon flattened homes, schools and an airport in Tacloban. Relief workers are yet to reach some towns and villages cut off since the storm. In many areas there is no clean water, no electricity and very little food. There were repors of nearly 300mph winds felt across the islands in the area. One has to wonder if this was simply a fluke event or something that will be more commonplace due to our changing climate. We won't know for certain as this is simply an isolated weather event but if we see more events like this, then it will be the trend climate scientists have been predicting.


Heartbreaking but in an entirely different way is the situation in the Central African Republic. The Seleka coalition of armed rebels ousted President Francois Bozize earlier this year. Since then the rebels have committed human rights violations on an "unprecedented scale," according to Reuters and Amnesty. The image in the link shows houses that have been burned in just one town.

Usually stories of violence in African nations are so common that people simply blow them off as just how things are there. They don't have to be, of course, and many of the solutions to the problems African nations face are rooted in structural flaws left behind by the exodus of European nations post imperialism. Direct aid helps but not as much as the nations of the Global North going into these countries and helping them create sustainable economies.


The United States and Iran have failed to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear program. Shocking, I know. What began as more hope then we have seen in years, ended abruptly when faced with hardliners political capital on all sides of the talks. In some ways, I agree with the hardliners like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran has to do much more than elect a new president who says nice things. Granted, President Rouhani has to deal with his own hardliners but with protests in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities that are deeply anti-American, his government is going to have to take significant action if they want movement on an end to the sanctions that are crippling his country.


Finally, it seems there is one country in the world that would like to give up their guns: Yemen. It seems that the citizens of Yemen would happily hand in their guns if their government provided better security.

Like most Yemeni men, Mahmoud Shahra owns a gun and has known how to use it since childhood, although the 25-year-old activist used to leave his weapons at home. But since the politically motivated kidnapping of one of his close friends earlier this year, Shahra has carried a gun at nearly all times. He seems at ease with his AK-47, but his demeanor hides internal disquiet. “Even if I feel safer and more confident, I feel like I’m betraying my values when I carry a gun,” he says. “Still, the current security environment has forced me to do so.”

Values? Hmm...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is Bill Gates A Time Traveler?

Well, not really, according to this recent piece at Politico that I have been wanting to point out for awhile.

This week found Gates in the Capitol promoting his plan to combine a 1960s-era oral vaccine with new satellite photography and GPS trackers to eradicate polio finally from the globe. Picking up where the Green Revolution left off in his youth, the 57-year-old Gates talked up new farming methods and genetically modified seeds as an answer for hunger in Africa, whose staple crops were neglected in earlier research. “It’s all about innovation,” Gates told POLITICO. “Now that I am focused on the poorest, in some ways, you could say the innovation is more basic.”

Right. I have no doubt that we are headed for the world Bono envisioned because of advances in technology.

50 years. No more world hunger.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Alternate Dimension?

Being a comic book and scifi fan, I often wonder how many other dimensions and realities exists that are parallel to our own. Are there alternate versions of myself or my family and friends? Today, I feel like I have slipped into an alternate dimension with these two headlines.

Pope Says Church Is ‘Obsessed’ With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control

Iranian New Year greetings leave Israelis perplexed, pleased

Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Don't get me wrong...I'm happy but it's jarring after so much bull crap every day to see something as positive as both of these stories.

I supposed I could be a cynic and say the latter headline is just Iran trying to smooth over diplomatic relations with the United States and is representative of recent back channel communications over their nuclear weapons program. Still, though, even with that caveat it's quite shocking to hear something like that from an Iranian leader.

The Pope's comments certainly jibe with his overall philosophy of placing more importance on helping the poor and sick of the world rather than being inordinately preoccupied with sex. Certainly caring for the needy of the world is mentioned far more often in the Bible than homosexuality, abortion, and birth control so it's clear which is more important.

Sadly, I'm sure it won't be long now before the Pope is accused of not being a Christian.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Coming Clean

I was quite heartened to see that the CIA has now admitted that it played a significant role in the coup in Iran in 1953. This event, more than any other, was the spark that lit the flame of hatred for the United States in Iran. Backing the Shah, who murdered his own citizens regularly and often on a mere whim, was a giant mistake.

Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq was the democratically elected leader and we had him overthrown simply because he nationalized Iran's oil. So what? It was their fucking country to do with whatever they desired. Iran wasn't a problem before the CIA, BP and MI-6 fucked everything up.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The End Game

With the United States on the verge of bombing Syria after it has been discovered that the Assad government used chemical weapons against the rebels, I have to wonder...what is the end game in Syria?

No doubt the use of such weapons is thoroughly disgusting on just about every level but it shouldn't be news that President Assad is a despicable man. Equally as awful are the rebels who like to videotape people's hearts being cut out and eaten by resistance soldiers. These are the people we want to help out?

I suppose I understand the concept of a surgical strike the sends a message but it won't accomplish anything. The civil war there will continue and it's going to be a giant cluster fuck just as it is in Egypt with various groups vying violently for power. In the final analysis, there is very little we can to stabilize Syria let alone the region.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Where Does Our Stuff Come From?

There are so many good things about the latest cover story in The Christian Science Monitor on globalization that I don't know where to start. Our world is very different these days and this piece really drives that home. I don't see how anyone can have a discussion about the issues facing our country without considering the information in this article.

Seriously, check it out!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Worldscope: Brazil

It's interesting to note how protests get started. Sometimes they can be something as innocuous as the closing of a park as in Turkey. Other times they can be something huge like the clear intent of theocracy as in Egypt. With the protests in Brazil, it started as public transit fare increases. Now, it has ballooned into a referendum on corruption, high cost of living, the precarious public transport system, Brazil’s red tape, politicians in general, the absurd amounts of taxpayers’ money being spent to host the FIFA World Cup next year and against more, much more.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff has attempted to placate the protesters across the country (now in well over 300 cities) by offering a plan to curb corruption, invest in public transit, and have a more fiscally responsible government. The people think the steps are nice but they aren't satisfied yet. Her approval rating has sunk 27% points. Further, the people that are protesting overwhelmingly back no political party and are highly educated. Many are young and first time protesters. That means Rousseff is going to have to be more aggressive if she is going to save her government.

It's amazing to me that there are so many places in the world now where people simply are not going to put up with bullshit any longer. I wonder if we will start having more active involvement here in our own country. Can we get off the couch to seriously affect change as they are in these other countries?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Worldscope: Turkey

I've always been fascinated by Turkey. A country with a rich history steeped in a magnificent culture. I think it was the transformation from being the center of all the religious wars in the world to a secular country. Sadly, in 2013, that has now changed.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been moving the country into a more religiously conservative direction since the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) took power more than a decade ago. What began on May 28th as a simple "occupy" protest against the closing of Gezi Park (a highly symbolic and historic park in Istanbul) has now mushroomed into large protests against current Turkish leaders all over the county with thousands injured due to police overreaction.

Gezi stands as a monument to modernity in Turkey and the plan to demolish it was angered the secularists in the country and is seen as a move backwards. Indeed, the government plans to build an Ottoman style barracks and mosque on the site so it's understandable that the people are upset. Like the Egyptians protesting in Cairo, these young Turks are young, secular-minded women students to football fans, from the urban middle class to "the typical urban poor youth", according to the BBC's Paul Mason, who has been reporting from Istanbul.

I find it very heartening that the people in Turkey and Egypt are not putting up with any sort of shift  to religious conservatism. They want democracy, liberty and freedom and they are getting it, interestingly, with the help of social media. Prime Minister Erdogan has been attempting to shut down Twitter feeds, calling them "a scourge." He, like many other leaders trying exert more control on their people, are stymied by American technology. Love it!

BBC has a nice Q & A on the situation in Turkey. Check it out!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Worldscope: Egypt

Over the next few days, I'm going to be highlighting areas of the world that have been bustling with activity-both good and bad. First up today is Egypt. Take a glance over in the news feeds to the right of this post and   take note of the latest events. In a nutshell, Egyptians are having buyer's remorse.

The people are not happy with the Muslim Brotherhood and have attacked and looted their headquarters. Eight people died in a night of fighting around the Brotherhood building, where guards fired on youths hurling rocks and fire bombs. A Brotherhood official said two of its members were injured. As of right now, the streets are quiet as another wave of protests gears up.

At issue is the leadership of President Mohamed Morsi. The opposition does not trust the head of the Islamist movement, which critics accuse of using a series of electoral victories to monopolize power. They want a total reset of the rules of a democracy imperfectly worked out over the past two years. Morsi became Egypt's first freely elected president a year ago when he won 51 percent of the vote. But Saad said Morsi has damaged Egypt so much in one year, that it was impossible to wait another three to vote him out of office. "They want to kill us," said another man when asked why he wanted to break into the headquarters. "They're choking us."

This shift towards theocracy is playing out in other areas of the world such as Turkey and the people are not happy about  it. The United States has urged Morsi and his supporters to share power with the secular opposition. Thus far, he has refused and Egypt is essentially right back where it was two years ago-a bloviating strong man wielding the power of the state.

One would think he would learn his lesson after what happened to Hosni Muburak but Morsi has adopted many of the same tactics and discourse. Keep an eye on the headlines over the next few days as the situation in Cairo will likely grow more destabilized.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Failed State

Rebels have seized control of the Central African Republic and President François Bozizé has fled the country. They met little resistance as the country is one of the most impoverished in Africa.

Once again, a strong man who promised democratic elections has seen power slip away. This cycle has been repeated so many times since the great colonial push at the turn of the last century that it's pretty much routine at this point. As has been the case in the past, the people will end up suffering as the rebels will plunder and loot what little wealth there is in the CAR.

My question is this: what can the Global North do, if anything, to prevent things like this happening? Investment? Their heavy dependence on foreign aid has actually made things worse. We could also simply shrug and say, "Oh well. It's their country. If they fuck it up, so be it."

It seems to me, though, that in 2013 we can come up with a different paradigm and it starts with building a sustainable, free market economy there. France should be heavily involved as they are primarily responsible for leaving a power vacuum upon their exit. The country certainly has plenty of food crops on which it could build an agricultural market. The diamond trade could also be more heavily regulated as 30-50 percent of the country's diamonds leave under illegal circumstances. Improvements in their economy will lead to more democratic policies. Prosperity tends to do that.

Being a landlocked country presents a challenge, of course, but I think that the Central African Republic should be used as an example of moving forward in the Global South. With yesterday's events, I've now seen this film far too many times and it's clear we need to do something different.