If there are systemic flaws in America will they blame the Obama era or will they leave him alone, not because he was the first African-American President but more so that he tried to make it matter and in two terms tried to make a difference.
The mid terms are coming up in America and one questions who is there to replace the current president and to take on the responsibility of leading the country through challenging turbulent seas. There is not one strong leader who can lead in America, not because there aren’t any dynamic leaders of vision and strength, but because there are other influences in America and the president is merely one person at the apex.
Budget requests & demands from a myriad of sources for all worthwhile programs from health & education to defence and cyber-security. I have no bias towards America but what I do have is a keen interest in where they are headed and how they are hopefully going to be proactive rather than reactive during the remainder of the Obama era.
What will political science academics and foreign policy analysts anticipate will be the word from the State Department & the White House during 2014 & the end of the second term ? Will it be not what is said but what is not said that will be of importance. One questions what the Middle East will look like in 2017 and will the American people be involuntarily dragged into another global conflict.
I feel cold as the Spring has been and gone & the Winter is here.
There now appears to be a contagion in Africa & the Middle East.
” Everyone must realize that the biggest problem and the primary battle involves rebuilding the Egyptian citizen himself, before anything else. The thing that the Mubarak regime corrupted the most and persisted in its destruction were the citizens themselves. Our primary battle is to build an alternative to the regime and not to topple the regime, for the regime will not fall unless we have created an alternative.”
In a social context, trust has several connotations. Definitions of trust typically refer to a situation characterised by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other’s actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired.
The history of the human species reveals that we are only ever two things and these are constructive and destructive.
There are many references to these two sides of human nature that are found throughout literature and the Bible has many examples of these. There are many opposites…sun & moon, positive & negative, war & peace, black & white, red & green, up and down and many others inclusive of life & death. We’re born & we die, it is as simple as that…in between of course there is cabaret.
Conflict has existed since the beginning or our time here on Earth and will continue till that day when it finally ends.
To briefly look at where we are today and where we humans possible will be at the end of this first quarter of the Twenty First Century the writer recommends the reader to look at modern history in two writers from France & England. There are other writers, and more modern and ancient history that one can review, in an attempt to understand where we are at today and how we got to this point in our timeline.
One questions the past century and the trajectory that we are currently on which was set in the latter half circa 1950-2000.
The slow evolution of the human species and have we moved forward towards a better tomorrow ?
In his book ‘Strategic Vision – America and the Crisis of Global Power ‘ Zbigniew Brzenzinski argues that America can and should be actively engaged in navigating this period of crisis. The book seeks to outline the needed strategic vision, looking beyond 2025. There are other matters that both Brzezinski and the writer of this post have not explored in detail. These other matters are of concern and are not limited to these three – Population Growth, Climate Change, Sustainable Development
The World After America : By 2025, Not Chinese but Chaotic
Unlike the failed twentieth-century aspirants to world power, China’s international posture is at this stage neither revolutionary nor messianic nor Manichean. China thus seems to understand–and its investments in America’s well-being speak louder than words because they are based on self-interest–that a rapid decline of America’s global primacy would produce a global crisis that could devastate China’s own well-being and damage its long-range prospects. Prudence and patience are part of China’s imperial DNA.
Deng Xiaoping’s famous maxim “Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capabilities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile, and never claim leadership.”
Sun Tzu – the wisest posture in combat is to lay back, let one’s opponent make fatal mistakes, and only then capitalise on them.
Deng Xiaoping took China from Mao to Today.
Brzezinski does conclude that ” since America is not yet Rome and China is not yet its Byzantium, a stable global order ultimately depends on America’s ability to renew itself and to act wisely as the promoter and conciliator of a rising new East. “
China has cemented itself in Africa with such dexterity that the foundations have cured for a strong and continued ‘mutually beneficial’ relationship based upon infrastructure for resources. There is a trade off here because this relationship between China & Africa is based upon this business model that is not ‘apples for apples’, but it has worked thus far. Whoever runs Africa this decade rules the world in the next…this statement may not be historically accurate, but the idea is understood.
The change that is required to sail through the difficult uncharted waters in tomorrow was required yesterday.The uncharted waters are not a reference to 2050, this is a reference to the next five years specifically and the remainder of Q1 of the 21st Century. Sustainable development is vital if we are to survive into the next centuries. Sustainability of our species is not possible on the current trajectory and there are major global challenges ahead.
How do we fight poverty ? Okay that is not easily answered because as we assist those who live in poverty to move into the middle class, they then contribute to a larger carbon footprint as consumers. America has tried to slow the growth of China by saying that the Chinese must reform and address the MDGs without contributing to global pollution – e.g. not to use fossil fuels for the generation of electricity etc.
Old habits die hard as they say and one wonders if we can in fact change our course. At present the world is sailing with a lee shore (lee shores are dangerous to water craft because, if left to drift, they will be pushed into shore by the wind, possibly running aground) and that if we do not or can not change the consequences are catastrophic.
But which course to take ? A responsible government has a thinking society…that would be a very good place to start.
Over the past fifty years the communication age taught consumers what to consume, how and why to consume.
What symphony can the world write to sooth our troubles. This conflict cocktail composition that we’re intoxicated from is merely because the welfare of man is in an eternal state of conflict.
May we all drink clean cool water from now on…I’m thirsty and is there any left ?
To change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose.
The government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.
Any period of frightful violence or bloodshed
likened to the Reign of Terror in France.
Tyrannosaurus Rex – A large, carnivorous dinosaur that walked on two legs.
Its name is from the Greek words meaning “tyrant” and “lizard”and the Latin word for “king.”
The African Union has member states which comprise Saharan and Sub Saharan countries – http://www.au.int/en/member_states/countryprofiles
( no guarantee accuracy of information )
The history of African countries can be divided into three periods.
Pre Colonisation – Colonisation – Decolonisation.
During the Scramble for Africa in the late nineteenth century, Western European powers divided Africa and its resources into political partitions at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85. By 1905, control of almost all African soil was claimed by Western European governments, with the only exceptions being Liberia (which had been settled by African-American former slaves) and Ethiopia (which had successfully resisted colonization by Italy). Britain and France had the largest holdings, but Germany, Spain, Italy, Belgium, andPortugal also had colonies. As a result of colonialism and imperialism, Africa lost not only its sovereignty, but also control of its natural resources like gold and rubber. Europeans often justified this using the concept of the White Man’s Burden, an obligation to “civilize” the people of Africa.
Critics say that the process of African decolonization from the 1950s to the 1970s turned what were relatively well-ordered and peaceful territories administered by the efficient bureaucracies and legal traditions of the Western European empires into violent, inefficient and corrupt socialist dictatorships or right-wing family dictatorships with little regard for international rule of law and human rights and riddled with civil–turf wars, barbaric political purges, mass refugee crises, famines and ethnic conflict. –
Decolonisation and a brief look at Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) post Mugabe 2014. It must be noted here that this is not a diatribe regarding either the country or the current leader of Zimbabwe.
It is a brief look at the future and there are several possible scenarios for Zimbabwe, from peaceful to armed conflict.
His Excellency Robert Gabriel Mugabe the President of Zimbabwe is the only president of Zimbabwe, since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.
Right now, two broad factions are thought to be jockeying for position. The moderates, led by vice-president Joyce Mujuru, dominate key positions within the party leadership and seem to have significant grassroots support. The hardliners, under the direction of perennial eminence grise Emmerson Mnangagwa (now the justice minister), have the advantage of ruthlessness and a tight grip on the all-important security services.
In July 2013 Zimbabwe held an election that saw the current ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front) government retain power under the leadership of Mugabe. The opposition party MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) no longer has the possibility of being an effective opposition party, relegated to spending time lost in the political wilderness. There currently is no opposition party to the current government. http://www.zanupf.org.zw/
H.E. R.G. Mugabe is about to turn 90 years of age in one month and whilst there are those who believe that he is mightier than Jesus Christ because we are still waiting for Christ’s return, Mugabe has died and been resurrected many times. We are mortal and there will come a time when the news will report the passing of ‘Cde Bob’. It is this period that is of concern to political analysts because of the ineffectiveness in Zimbabwe of the African Union & S.A.D.C.
The Republic of South Africa under the current Zuma government is facing an election this year and it is probable that the current government will not be retained. There are external influences that will not be discussed here because they are classified and not for general broadcast. These vested external influencing factors are far greater than the African Union and involve China, Russia & Brasil along with some other countries.
Currently there are far bigger global strategic defence issues that take a priority such as these examples – South China Seas, Syria, South Sudan, Egypt, Iraq and others not mentioned.
This year is the year to build bridges. The Western media portrays Zimbabwe in a certain way and we therefore have a preconceived notion of what the country is like. What do you know about Zimbabwe and have you ever visited the country ?
One questions why the Australian & American governments do not do more to reach out to Zimbabwe and to work in a collaborative and consultative approach to assist in the transition that will take place at some stage.
The are three ‘T’ words in the heading of this post which were used to gain attention and there are also three ‘T’ words that could have been selected…Truth, Trust & Transparency.
History will be the only way of knowing the future of Zimbabwe and H.E. R.G. Mugabe will be recorded as the freedom fighter who lead the country out of the colonial repression that existed under the Ian Smith government.
we go and turn on a tap usually to get ‘a glass of water’.
Back in the 1970’s outside of Europe it was glass bottles of Italian or French water that were available, usually only from an upmarket restaurant. Names like Perrier or Pellegrino come to mind and then through the 1980s other names appeared as Coca Cola, Pepsi and other companies released products into the marketplace.
Hikers, joggers, cyclists and children along with others
were seen through the 1990s with a plastic container close at hand.
Primary aquifers were drilled into and utilised for agriculture.
As these primary sources began to deplete, countries such as China and America drilled down into the secondary aquifers.
By the end of the 20th Century we began to hear more about climate change and water.
With the current conflict in South Sudan,
it would be worth the question.
Has water got anything to do with this crisis ?
It may not be as silly as it sounds.
An old map only used to look at
general geographical information of the Nile
Egyptian and Sudanese plans to build an airstrip for bombing a dam in the Blue Nile River Gorge in Ethiopia.
The Egyptian and Sudanese governments denied the reports.
The new American Idol: Should the US rule the world?
A new article makes the case for the US as the world’s de facto government.
It might not have seemed necessary in the 21st century to ask or answer such a ridiculous question. After all, European colonialism, in the last half of the prior century, collapsed politically, morally, and even legally. Its pretensions were thoroughly exposed and totally discredited. As well, the Soviet empire fell apart.
And yet there are those who muster the temerity to insist that – even now – it is the US’ global governing authority that enables the degree of security and prosperity in the world today. Not surprisingly, the proponents of this conception of world order as dependent on US military, economic, diplomatic, and ideological capabilities are themselves American. It is even less surprising that the most articulate celebrants of this new variant of a self-serving and totalising imperial approach to security and prosperity are situated either in US academic institutions or in its principal media outlets.
I consider Michael Mandelbaum to be the most unabashed and articulate advocate of this American “global domination project” that he felicitously calls “the world’s de facto government”. He champions this role for his country in book after book. Recently Mandelbaum has restated his argument in a short essay, “Can America Keep Its Global Role?” that appears in the January 2014 issue of Current History. His thesis is straightforward: “[The US] provides to the whole world, not only its allies, many of the services that governments furnish to the countries they govern.” Or more simply, “…the US stands alone as the world’s de facto government.”
[The US] provides to the whole world, not only its allies, many of the services that governments furnish to the countries they govern.- Michael Mandelbaum
It is crucial to take note of the claim that, unlike past empires and hegemonic states, the US alone has undertaken a systemic orstructural role, and is not to be understood as serving only those states that are allied by friendship, values, and binding arrangements. In this respect this novel form of world government, although administered from its statist headquarters in Washington, claims to be meta-political, and should be appreciated by all as promoting the betterment of humanity. It is a cause of some wonderment, then, to account for polling results from around the world that indicate, time and again, that the US is viewed as the most dangerous country from the perspectives of peace and justice. It would seem from the Mandelbaum worldview that “They just don’t know how lucky they are!”
What makes Mandelbaum so cocky about the beneficence of the US’ global role? It is essentially the conviction that it is US military power underwriting the established order that avoids wars and protects countries against aggressive behaviour by states with revisionist foreign policy goals. More concretely, Europe can rest easy because of the US military presence, while Russia as well, can be assured that Germany will not again seek to conquer its territory as it tried to do twice in the last century. Similarly in the East Asian setting, China is deterred from imposing its will regionally to resolve island and territorial disputes, while at the same time being reassured that Japan will not again unleash an attack upon the Chinese mainland.
There is some plausibility to such speculation, but it seems more like the dividend of alliance relationship in a historical setting when recourse to war as a solvent for international conflicts seems more and more dysfunctional. And it doesn’t pretend to work with a rogue ally such as Israel, which seems willing to attack Iran whether or not the White House signals approval.
The complementary claim about providing a template for global economic prosperity is also misleading at best, and likely flawed. The US presides over a neoliberal world order that has achieved economic growth but at the price of persisting mass poverty, gross and widening inequalities, unsustainable consumerism, cyclical instability, and a rate of greenhouse gas emissions that imperils the human future.
Beyond this, the US’ role is praised for using its capabilities “to counteract the most dangerous trend in twenty-first century security affairs: the spread of nuclear weapons to countries and non-state actors that do not have them and would threaten the international order if they did”. What is not mentioned by Mandelbaum, and suggests strongly the absence of anything resembling “world government” is the inability of existing global policy mechanisms, whether under US or other auspices, to solve pressing collective goods problems.
I would mention several: poverty, nuclear weaponry, fair trade, and climate change. Neither imperial guidance nor the actions of state-centric policymaking initiatives have been able to serve the human or global interest. This would demand, at the very least, nuclear disarmament, enforceable restraints on carbon emissions, and the end of agricultural subsidies in North America and Europe.
Somehow, the politics of self-determination and procedural democracy are fine for state/society relations, but when it comes to governing the world democracy it is quite okay to base the system on global authoritarianism.
Myopic vision of the world
Mandelbaum, and similar outlooks that conflate national and global interests, seem blind to the tensions between what is good for the US and its friends and what is good for the world and its peoples. And no more serious blindness, or is it merely acute myopia, exists than does the Mandlebaum contention that the greatest danger from nuclear weapons arises from those political actors that do not possess them rather than from those that have used such weaponry in the past, and continue to deploy nuclear weapons in contexts of strategic concern. One can only wonder about the absence of the word “drone” in Mandelbaum’s account of why the world should be grateful for the way the US globally projects its power!
There are additional difficulties with Mandelbaum’s global vision, including a glaring internal contradiction. He praises the US for exerting a pro-democracy influence throughout the world. While this praise is partially deserved, it, however, fails to note either the inconsistencies in its application or the complete failure to consider the consent of the peoples and other governments in relation to US de facto world government.
I doubt that there would be many supporters of the Mandelbaum prescriptions for governing the world in Moscow and Beijing despite the benefits that are supposedly bestowed upon Russia and China. Somehow, the politics of self-determination and procedural democracy are fine for state/society relations, but when it comes to governing the world democracy, it is quite okay to base the system on global authoritarianism.
In depicting the future, Mandelbaum calls our attention to three scenarios that bear on his thesis. In what he calls “the most favourable of these”, those that have most to gain, namely, Europe and Japan would assist the US, and lighten the burdens of world government. Such a prospect is really thinly disguised alliance-oriented, although in a presumably less conflictual global setting. He does not view this future as the most likely one. The least favourable would be a challenge from China that would induce a return to balance of power world order in which countervailing alliances would produce a security system that resembled international relations during the Cold War.
Mandelbaum, nonetheless, assumes that the Chinese are too wily to opt for such a risky future. What he views, as most likely, is a continuation of the present arrangements without great help from allies or much hindrance from adversaries. The unknown, that he does acknowledge, is whether the American public will continue to finance such a system of world government given its setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as growing domestic pressures to cut public spending and reduce taxes in response to the burdens of a rapidly ageing population.
It is well to appreciate that this new discourse of imperial duty and prerogative is framed as a matter ofglobal scope. This is genuinely new. Yet it is quite old. Throughout the evolution of modernity, the West has always cast itself in the role of being the saviour of the whole of humanity. In the colonial era this gift to humanity was described as the “white man’s burden” or proclaimed to be the “civilising mission” of the West. As those living in the global south are well aware, this lofty language provided the rationale a variety of forms of violent exploitation of the non-West. For Mandelbaum is offering the world a new rationale for Western dominance under the heading of “de facto world government”. It purports to be a service institution for the world. It is nowhere acknowledged that a disproportionate amount of the violence, militarism, and appropriation of resources and wealth emanates from the US.
If persuaded by Mandelbaum’s argument, the peoples of the world and their leaders should be grateful that the US is shouldering the responsibilities of governing the world. I would expect that the more likely emotion of non-American readers is to be dismissive, and to wonder how such arrogance can withstand the facts that this pretence of US guardianship of global interests has so little positive to show for itself in recent decades.
Richard Falk is Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Visiting Distinguished Professor in Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.