December 5, 2012
Kant argued that people should act out of a sense of duty, not for any recognition their actions might yield. President Obama wants to create a society where the rich are not exempt from their responsibilities to their fellow citizens. Establishing this sense of equity between rich and poor has been a goal of President Obama since his first term. So why not reestablish the draft?
The poor are often the ones that are economically pressed into service because they have few job alternatives. Soon there will be defense budget cuts. Soldiers will be forced to fight with less at their disposal. If president Obama is so concerned about the poor as well as the safety of the nation in general, why not bring back the draft? The answer is because it is unpopular.
President Obama has no objection taxing the wealthy in order to create more jobs and provide for the less fortunate. Reestablishing the draft would create many more jobs, and make the nation safer. President Obama’s popularity supersedes his sense of duty. The man on the battlefield could have worked at McDonald’s, instead he joined the military out of a sense of duty. Ironically the commander and chief does not have the same sense of duty, otherwise his actions would match his rhetoric.
November 12, 2012
As most of you already know there is a major crisis brewing in the Middle East regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The West views Iran as a hostile and unpredictable theocracy bent on destroying Israel. Saudi Arabia considers Iran a threat to Sunni regional domination. Iran claims it is enriching Uranium for peaceful purposes and that it’s nuclear program has been targeted for destruction by the West. There is little doubt that the assassination of Iranian scientists was conducted by Western powers as a warning to the Iranian regime. Yet in spite of these assassinations, and crippling sanctions Iran continues to enrich Uranium. So what will be the end result?
Russia and China are both dependent on Iran. Russia due to Iran’s regional significance, China due to Iran’s oil production. Iran has been a Russian Allie since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The problem is that Iran’s theocratic regime does not fall under the same ideological guidelines as Russia, or China. Russia may question Iran’s willingness to comply to Russian demands. Certainly Putin questions whether he will be able to restrain a nuclear Iran. Neither the West nor Russian and China want a nuclear arms race in the middle east. Russia however, sees Iran as a leverage against Western powers implementing their new missile shield in Europe. President Obama has already said that he will be more flexible on this issue after the election (Ironically, he seemed confident of victory even back in March). Now that he has been reelected, president Obama will be looking for a compromise.
President Obama will compromise on the missile shield if Russia agrees to regime change in Iran. The problem is that Russia currently has leverage with Iran as the US is war weary. As long as There is this leverage Putin knows he can bargain for more. So how far will President Obama compromise before Russia accepts an agreement? There is no question that if the missile defense program is scrapped, and regime change occurs, the new Iranian regime would remain sympathetic to Russia and China. Russia would not accept any other position from a new Iranian government. The problem with this is that Russia does not trust Western powers. If the Iranian regime is toppled, there are no guarantees that Western powers will not replace the regime with a new regime that is sympathetic towards the West.
I predict that President Obama will compromise on much more than just missile defense. President Obama will bargain for Putin’s trust and in so doing will cost the West it’s influence in various regional powers such as Greece and the Balkans, possibly even parts of Africa.The new Russian backed Iranian regime will inherit sectarian conflict from Sunni hegemony which they will ruthlessly crush much like Assad is currently doing. Only difference being that the new Iranian regime will be successful because Western powers will not interfere. When it is all over President Obama will have sold out the West as well as those who look to the West for hope in exchange for peace that will not last long. Of course his administration will spin it as though he was a keen diplomat that managed to bring compromise. Then the Democrats will dump the blame on the next Republican that inherits this foreign policy fiasco.
September 16, 2012
Self avowed Marxist Christopher Hitchens wrote an article supporting the term Islamofascism. He argued that the similarities between radical Islam and Fascism are unmistakable.
“The most obvious points of comparison would be these: Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. (“Death to the intellect! Long live death!” as Gen. Francisco Franco’s sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined “humiliations” and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression—especially to the repression of any sexual “deviance”—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.”- Christopher Hitchens http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2007/10/defending_islamofascism.html
Conservative David Horowitz also recognizes the similarities between fascist Germany and various fundamentalist Islamic groups. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiOwUZ2D-CI&feature=related . Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on, both sides acknowledge that Islamic fundamentalism seeks to violently repress opposing views. Islamic fundamentalism makes no effort to integrate into a society. Rather, its sole intention is to migrate into a society and alter that society’s political structure. The best example I can provide is what is currently happening in France. Islamic fundamentalists are rejecting the French mandate against wearing the hijab, or facial veil. Because French authorities did not repeal the ban an extremist went on a violent killing spree https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRHx3pNqPkQ . France’s system of rights is very similar to the U.S.’s, France upholds the right to practice any religion a person desires as long as that practice is not threatening harmful to other citizens. The French authorities are against wearing the hijab because it hides an individuals face, and can be used to conceal that person’s identity. The nation of France as a political structure does not favor any particular religion over another, it simply denies religion’s priority over the priorities of the state. It is clear that these protests in France were not about equality, but rather about hegemony. France’s authority is irrelevant to these fundamentalists, all that maters to them is that the France acquiesce to Islamic fundamentalism.
These same Islamofascist sentiments are apparent in the rhetoric that these fundamentalists spread. For example, when the US embassy was attacked in Egypt the protesters raised a flag that stated “There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger,” there is no tolerance in this message, only fundamentalism backed by force http://articles.cnn.com/2012-09-11/middleeast/world_meast_egpyt-us-embassy-protests_1_protesters-attack-black-flag-american-flag. The reason why the protests occurred also supports my claim. The protesters lashed out against a film that denigrated the prophet Mohammad, they also killed the ambassador to Libya and three fellow members of this consulate. These protests occurred all over the middle east and parts of Africa, as well as Australia. These protesters do not care about the Western Liberal right to freedom of expression. Even if the film was solely for degradation, a violent response is unacceptable in any Liberal democracy. It is clear that the hidden message of all these protests is that freedom of expression is irrelevant when critical of Islam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeLNGW5HQq4 . This exceptional standard for Islam is a double standard for the rest of of the world. Of course this is not the first time we have seen this. Theo Van Gogh was murdered for producing a film that was critical of how Islam treats women, and Salman Rushdie still has a mandate for his execution by Iran’s supreme leader for the book he wrote that is critical of Islam.
In conclusion, Islamic fundamentalists are only concerned about their own agenda of reforming nations into Muslim states. Moderate Muslims are usually ambivalent toward their more extremist counterparts, more concerned about achieving economic success, and care little for reforming their cultural image. Both only want to take what they can get and have little desire to conform. Moderates want money, fundamentalists want power and influence. Few Muslims take significant measures in the pursuit of a multi-ethnic cosmopolitan society. Those that do take measures are the best kind of Muslims because they truly want to make the world a better place for everyone. They not only deny radical fundamentalism, they actively encourage other Muslims to reject it in favor of tolerance. They are not a part of this Islamofascist movement but rather in favor of multiculturalism and acknowledge the sovereignty of the state in which they reside. These Muslims are a welcome contribution to any culture.
August 31, 2012
If people benefit from Western Liberal Democracy they have an obligation to all free people to help protect this way of life. I understand that many second generation citizens have often begun to lose their national identity, but those who speak a foreign language are obligated to compel their nations of origin to support Liberal Democracy. This means that someone from Venezuela that benefits from living in the U.S. has an obligation to the U.S. to advocate Liberal Democracy to people from Venezuela. The U.S. is a melting pot, but nationalism for another nation is also acceptable.
What we must recognized is that what makes the U.S. great is it’s value system. If an immigrant succeeds in the U.S. it is because the value system of the U.S. allowed it to happen. If foreign nations posses the same values and embrace Liberal Democracy, they to will prosper. Sometimes these nations need encouragement. Who better to encourage reform in Iran that Persian Americans? American Muslims that immigrated from Islamic nations should encourage tolerance in their countries of origin. They should encourage the presence of all religions, tolerance of all world views, and recognize the value of the open forum. The United States is for everyone who adopts its values, but remember what John F. Kennedy said. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
This issue is devoid of partisan politics. It strikes at the fundamental nature of Liberalism. Tolerance must be met with tolerance, otherwise nations will begin to reject various views. I think that it can be widely agreed that citizens of the United States want to see a return of civil liberties for everyone (including those at Gitmo). The problem is that they are unable to do so without compromising their own safety. This is why Gitmo is still open. U.S. citizens do not want homeland security, but there are too many groups plotting terrorism. The best way to fix this problem is to advocate progressive change abroad. I want to be very clear that I do not advocate war against Iran, but rather a change in its political structure.
Iran today is similar to fascist Germany is many ways. It is similar in that it idolizes a group of individuals as though their were the supreme authority over all of humanity. The Iranian government openly advocates violence against the West for the simple reason that Western Ideals are present in the Middle east. The same can be said for many extremist factions throughout the middle east. The question is what will fill the gap if the West withdraws? Obviously there will not be a progressive liberal society that will fill the void, instead I assert that there will be a push by regional powers to fill the void. This will result in massive death and skyrocketing oil prices.
Nazi Germany attempted to colonize Europe by inducing a constant hysteria among the German populous. It constantly needed to find threats to justify hegemony. When there were no threats it simply invented them. Nazi Germany (especially the SS) was content with annihilating other cultures that did not submit themselves to the Reich. This was fascism, and it is being repeated in Iran. The rhetoric is the same, and so is the hysteria that the government educes in the populous.
Then there is the subject of Mossadeque during the Cold War. Lets view what occurred in terms of a global perspective. Both the West and the Soviets were vying for power in Iran. The Shah’s government was in power, he was favored by the West. Western businesses such as BP established themselves in the nation of Iran. Initially the profits were well in favor of the West and only slightly benefited the Iranian people. These meager benefits would first apply to the Shah then the Shah would appropriate them accordingly.
BP invested great sums of money into the nation including large portions of their intellectual property which developed the equipment to pull oil out of the ground. This initial investment was gradually paid off and the Shah gradually benefited more from BP’s oil production. The Shah obviously lived a very lavish lifestyle to the envy of the average Iranian. He siphoned off huge portions of money for himself and his personal benefit. Nonetheless, the West backed him because they were unaware of the situation. All the while the Soviets began to plant the seeds of descent through Mossadeq.
Mossadeq gained power, and urged nationalization of oil production. This was a common Soviet move to redistribute wealth. The Shah knew that what would soon follow would be collectivization, and inevitably his death. So, the Shah asked for help from the West. The West (unbenounced to the situation in its entirety) was obliged. The Shah regained control. Then in 1979 there was the Islamic Revolution that ousted the Shah entirely. This new Islamic Republic was hostile to the West, but not from a Socialist perspective, rather an ethnocentric one. Nonetheless, many Western nations have since done business with the Republic, and both have prospered.
It is clear today that the Islamic Republic of Iran is aligned more with the former Communist states than with the West. Understandably so considering the Shah’s rule. This does not change the fact that the West is friendly toward Persian people. The West has benefited the people of Iran since the Islamic Revolution. It is false for the Iranian people to believe the Islamic Republic is not align with any specific ideology. It is clear that the government in power is sympathetic toward former Communists, and that the former Communist nations reciprocate that sympathy. What the Persian people in Iran and abroad need to realize is that they are not benefiting from the current actions of the Islamic Republic. Instead, the leaders of the Islamic Republic are needlessly forcing a violent outcome from the current situation. All the while the former Communist nations are quietly supporting them just like they did for years.
It is not hard to see that the West wants prosperity for the Persian people, while the former Communists are indifferent toward war (take Syria’s current situation for example). Russia is poised to make tremendous profits from a war in the middle east. The question is whether the Persian people will condone their government’s direction toward war, or whether they will demand peace and prosperity through descent. This nonaligned movement that Tehran is a part of was established by Communist leaders. It is foolish to believe that this movement is not a subsidiary of the Russian Federation and former Communist nations. Iranian leaders insist they are acting on behalf of Iran and the Persian people, but they are only doing so because they are being enabled by various other powers. Will the Persian people recognize who has their best interest in mind, or will they succumb to the same hysteria the German people fell for before WWII?
August 4, 2012
National security is a bi partisan issue. It makes no difference if there is a republican or democrat in office, we all must recognize that the spread of technology and proliferation is the greatest challenge to national security today. I realize that the economy is in bad shape. The economy however, does not make a difference with regard to the safety of our citizens. Times are hard for people. Play chess, read a book, but don’t ignore reality. Nuclear terrorism is more dangerous than any recession or depression the United States will ever face.
President Eisenhower helped create the independent state of Israel. He also established US international highway system. The later is dependent on the former. Israel has ensured US prosperity for over sixty years by pursuing sustained peace in the middle east. We can not turn our back on our allies now. The whole world looks to the United States to protect it from tyranny wherever it may be. Where there are voices that are silenced by violence people look to the West. Where there are people murdered because of their race or religion pleading for help, those people cry out to the West. Somalia,Kosovo,Rwanda, are of few example of nations that looked to the United States for help. Who will these people turn to for help if not the United States? When people try to convince you that the United States is only out to plunder resources though “capitalist imperialism,” remind them that the United States provides more aid than any nation on earth. Remind them that the United States is home to people of all races and religions. Remind them that even though 99% of the wealth is concentrated in the top 1% many of the top 1% are committed to giving most it away when they die. http://givingpledge.org . This level of philanthropy can only be found in the United States.
We may not always be in the best position to help, but we are always willing. In 2009-2010 there were protests all over Iran for free and fair elections. Iran is supported by Russia. It has been well known that free and fair elections in the Soviet Union were very rare. Today Russia is still employing the same tactics it did during the Soviet Union. It is much more likely that the Iranian regime is a tyrannical oligopoly rather an true democracy. It would not be an unfair assumption to believe that the Iranian regime is not far from Russia’s authoritarian type rule. We can not let partisan politics drive us away from our goal of helping the Iranian people. They have cried out for freedom already, and will do so again. Israel, the Iranian people, and the American people deserve solidarity on this issue… Let us not ignore them.
August 1, 2012
The Iranian regime claims to pursue nuclear material for peaceful purposes. It claims that this pursuit is their right to modernize. This claim by the regime is gradually deteriorating in its legitimacy. The problem is that their pursuit to modernize comes at the expense of modernity. Iran’s desire to pursue nuclear material in the face of increasing sanctions contradicts their claim of perusing modernity in general. As the regime enriches citing modernity, it gradually loses the basic staples of modernity (medicine, variety of foods, cars exc.). Take this hypothetical scenario for example: I want this jumbo sofa SO bad, but it cant fit in my house. My solution is sell the house and enjoy the sofa in the rain… The longer the regime holds out against these sanctions, the more it demonstrates its insidious intentions. If the Intel is uncertain (like Iraq), It is just as plausible to assume that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, as it is to assume it is not. Well, if it is not pursuing weapons, why make their own people suffer?
The West has offered a compromise in Vienna in 2009. “Under the draft agreement, Iran would ship that fuel to Russia for further enrichment, and Russia would return it to Iran in the form of metal fuel rods. Those could be used in a reactor but not a nuclear weapon. The deal would take away enough of Iran’s existing stockpile of uranium to make it difficult to produce a nuclear weapon until it has time to produce more raw fuel.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/world/middleeast/22nuke.html . This deal provided Iran with the nuclear material for medical purposes which could be renewed periodically. This offer was rejected. The Iranian regime simply wants all the benefits of trade with the West, and none of the responsibility. They want to conduct state sponsored terrorism to pursue hegemony in one of the most influential places on earth (the middle east). They want Marlboro, Viagra, Toyota, and Porsche, but they also want to reserve the right to influence policy through violence. In other words “I have my lunch, but I also want your lunch money, and if you don’t give me your lunch money I’m gonna blow this mother fucker up!”
Let there be no confusion that this is an extension of the Cold War. The Irony is that the Iranian regime is too ignorant to realize that it had no friends in the Cold War. Socialist Communism is collectivist. There can be no room for Mullahs interpreting Islam as the highest authority for the Iranian people. This is because the highest authority is the state…. At least Western Liberal Democracy allows the freedom to follow Islam peacefully.
July 22, 2012
The Iranian regime is using two weapons to fight the west. First, it is using its religion to recruit people for acts of terror. Second, It is developing nuclear weapons. The combination of the two are may lead to a nuclear terrorist attack. Terms such as “saber rattling” are used to abate U.S. domestic prejudice. The problem with this term is that it is not a saber that they are rattling. This metaphorical expression is incongruent and does not even apply to the circumstances at hand. I agree more with how Benjamin Netanyahu equates the situation with the holocaust. After all, a psychotic with a saber may only kill a few people, but a psychotic with a nuclear weapon could kill millions.
Lets not get confused about how dangerous this threat really is. Iran already has rockets that can hit targets almost anywhere in the middle east. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/07/11/exp-iran-missile-improvements.cnn . The regime is more interested in making its people suffer from sanctions than providing transparency to the international community regarding its nuclear program. The west has already offered to provide nuclear material for medical purposes. The regime refused. The regime argues that nuclear technology is its right, but it has no rights to trade with the west. By this logic the regime has a right to make the Iranian people suffer in the pursuit of a secret agenda that may kill millions. How is this rational?
The Iranian regime has indoctrinated many people. It uses them as pawns for terrorism against soft targets. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/07/19/exp-early-labott-bulgaria-bus-blast.cnn. Why does it seem so outlandish to assume that the regime may pass a nuclear weapon on to one of these people? Furthermore, how would the world know what happened in the aftermath? Everything would be so utterly obliterated and irradiated that no one would know who was responsible.
Dr. Zakaria, why are we even discussing anything with this regime? Your program is spinning me around so much that I think I may be ill. For example, the interview you did with Ahmadinejad http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/06/13/exp-cnns-fareed-zakaria-interviews-ahmadinejad.cnn . The beginning provides a quote saying “the foundation of our Islamic government is based on freedom of dialogue and will fight against any kind of censorship.” Yet Salman Rushdie was unofficially given the green light for murder because of his book The Satanic Verses. BBC News: On This Day. 26 December 1990. Retrieved 10 October 2006.
I don’t think the Iranian people have forgotten Nedā Āghā-Soltān, who was murdered while participating in a peaceful protest. I know I have not forgotten her.
WARNING EXTREMELY GRAPHIC CONTENT.
I guess freedom of dialogue is acceptable as long as the Iranian regime is the arbiter. Iran was taken hostage by the Iranian regime, and they use religion as their weapon. Soon they will try to use nuclear terrorism as their weapon. These people are more than goons. They are psychotics poisoning the minds of the Persian people.
July 6, 2012
I watched these videos of Fareed Zakaria in February and March argue that Soviet and Maoist rhetoric was much more hostile toward the West than Iran is today. He alluded to McCarthyism, and how the U.S. public was afraid that the Soviet Union was an irrational force bent on global domination. He reminded us that “we” (the U.S. public) were in a similar position in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. He explained that our fears were unfounded then because the Soviet Union was rational, and that our fears today are also unfounded because Iran to is rational. Zakaria cited an interview with Martin Dempsey where Dempsey agreed that Iran had a history of rational behavior and he considered them a rational actor.This would place them in the same rational category as the Soviet Union based on the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction.
What Zakaria ignores is the rationality of the ideology. Zakaria puts a spin on the issue from the perspective of an uninformed U.S. public. Yes, McCarthyism did use hostile rhetoric and fear to excite the U.S. public, and this fear was unfounded. This does not mean that the leaders at the time didn’t know better. Has Zakaria forgotten about George Kennan’s “Long Telegram”? This set the tone for checking Soviet aggression throughout the Cold War and was based on the idea that the Soviet Union was indeed rational. Lets go beyond that however, anyone who has ever read Marx, Engels, Luxemberg, Kautsky or any Communist ideology will find it hard to describe as anything but rational. One might not agree with the ideology, but this does not mean they find it irrational. McCarthyism was propaganda, there was similar propaganda in the Soviet Union. When it came down to the Cuban Missile Crisis rationality prevailed because both parties were operating under rational ideologies.
What Dempsey said does not change the ideology of Iran. Dempsey could have had any number or reasons for saying what he did. He could have been appealing to Iranian leaders to come to terms on an agreement. He may have been attempting to mitigate Israeli hostility to try to allow sanctions to take effect. He could have been trying to town down the war rhetoric to keep gas prices stable. Zakaria however, took the statement to mean that U.S. leaders believed that a Nuclear Iran was not a threat, and tried to portray this perspective to the American public. He tried to lump the Soviets and Iranians into the same rational category to create some kind of reassurance to the U.S. public that they would behave rationally if they got the bomb. This is pure conjecture intended to pacify the American public toward an unpredictable, and hostile nation in the middle of the largest oil reserve in the world.
First of all, the Soviet Union was a collective socialist state which made decisions for the benefit of the collective. It formulated its policies for the benefit of the collective. Iran is a theocracy that takes its direction from god… No theocracy can legitimately claim it is rational. This is because it derives its authority from the unknown, or from some person who claims to interpret the unknown. Countless people died unnecessarily in Europe due to an absolute monarch claiming his authority from god. Ironically, this is also what caused the Bolshevik revolution…
Mr. Zakaria, I know you want me to go to sleep while Iran gradually acquires a nuclear weapon to exert its influence in one of the most unstable and influential places in the world, but I wont. I will not fart and roll over while gas prices explode and the U.S. economy plummets. I will not snore while Iran’s government encourages violence and terrorism against the U.S. and its allies. I can not accept even the possibility of a theocracy threatening nuclear war in the name of god. I am an enlightened man, and this is unacceptable to me.