Beyond the Cusp

August 17, 2014

Our World and Welcome To It

In the story of “Rip Van Winkle” he went off into the woods where one thing leads to another and after imbibing some concoction sleeps away the next twenty years and returns to his home town where near everything has drastically changed. Seemingly he had slept through the American Revolution and this adds to his woes and initial troubles. With the world in the state it is today the same story could be told with a few alterations. Now it would be updated to an alien abduction where the person was taken in 1994 on a trip on a ship capable of FTL (faster than Light) speeds to a couple of stars and returned to earth in 2014 after aging only slightly the world would be as changed and they would be just as confused as was Rip Van Winkle was with his small village. The changes to the world have been drastic, difficult to have predicted, equally impossible to explain and often producing events impossible to predict as they are to explain.

We have a world where the United States is seen as a joke incapable of backing any threat or influence the Presidents announces, a Middle East where it almost appeared that leading Arab nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt were almost aligned with Israel against the Palestinians in Gaza and terrorists originating from the Syrian civil war are threatening to sweep across Iraq with murderous and genocidal changes forced upon the population attempting to purge the unbelievers and apostates. The European Union nations were almost universally unable to meet their Kyoto Accords pollution targets while the United States which did not even sign onto those accords did meet the obligations which would have been demanded of them. Bono is no longer asking for money and food donations for African nations claiming they are actually hurtful as they destroy the agrarian base to the economies of the African nations and instead seeking investment by corporations and industry to assist development by opening factories and other capitalist ventures in order to develop the African economies. Japan is attempting to recover financially from natural disasters and an economic meltdown which lasted now close to twenty years. The world is seeking ways to replace the dollar with some other currency based on a number of alternate currencies. Russia appears headed to a return to her hegemonic role over the Ukraine and other former satellite nations. And anti-Semitism has returned full-force in much of the world with Europe once again leading the Western world once again into that darkness with even the United States and other non-European nations following along and not that far behind.

The list can continue but maybe it is best to allow each reader to ponder additions to these and further consider the ripples and echoes spreading, mixing and crossing as they further disturb the webs of consistency and forever alter the fabric from which our societies are cut. Predicting where the world will go tomorrow had become a dangerous place to go and perhaps is best left to those willing to risk being cast a fool by the unexpected and often unimaginable twists and turns of our world takes as it suffers the convoluted convulsions of unimagined detours and twisted directives. Seemingly, and odd as it might sound, the one main consistency that can be counted upon not to have changed much is the United Nations. The United Nations still manages to be on the wrong side of virtually every situation into which it pokes its uninvited nose and can still be counted upon to excoriate and condemn Israel for her every attempt to survive. It is sad that the greatest consistency of the United Nations and the world it represents has been the unmitigated and unadulterated animosity and pure bile which rises forth simply at the mention of the little Jewish strip of land hugging relentlessly at the eastern rim of the Mediterranean Sea that is Israel. When one witnesses the increasingly belligerence and malice shown the world’s Jewry, the refuge which the strip of land offers to that ancient society which some credit with the basic morality of laws which underpin Western society becomes all the more clear for as the rest of humanity despises the Jew, the more important Israel will become, important and necessary if the world “Never Again” are to have any meaning. Let them be judged by how they will judge the Jew.


Beyond the Cusp


December 15, 2013

Has the United States Missed Another Golden Opportunity?

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The past quarter of a century has experienced a world going through some seismic political transformations, some more surprising than others and some completely expected, but solely in hindsight. The first major quake on the political landscape was the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolving of the Warsaw Pact. In hindsight the collapse of the Soviet Union made complete sense and seemed like it should have been expected, yet it was not. The dissolving of the Warsaw Pact was the great opportunity for the Western Nations, especially those in NATO, but it ended up an opportunity lost. Admitting Poland into NATO, reuniting Germany, and accepting slowly some of the central Eastern European nations into NATO was an obvious move. What was the missed opportunity was the acceptance of the farthest Eastern European nations into NATO which was an opportunity lost. Yes, it would have required effort in order to secure these nations as democratic and free in the Western model but that was doable. Instead President George H. W. Bush wasted his efforts attempting to woo Russia to join NATO as a subservient secondary power to the United States and probably Britain and Germany as well if not France and others. Russia was never going to sit on the same side of the table as their arch enemy since the end of World War II because there was simply too much history of bad blood between the West and the remnant of the Soviet Union’s heart, Russia. Still, the United States pumped billions upon billions of dollars into Russia thinking there would be something to show for their investments and there has been, a stronger Russia than had they been left in the cold until they agreed to play nice and make a fully and long lasting unipolar world. Instead we have a rescued Russia now challenging a listless and inattentive United States that has been bumbling around on the world stage without any true direction seemingly pilotless. The United States is doing exactly what President Obama said they would do, “leading from behind”, which is a sophisticated way of saying following and letting the world dictate to the United States rather than actually fulfilling her role as the world superpower. By the time President Obama leaves office, assuming he does, the United States will be disregarded by China, Russia, and very probably a nuclear armed Iran which will hold hegemony over the oil states in the Middle East.


The other major seismic change was the originally named Arab Spring which we and others eventually saw to call the Arab Winter. The path that resulted from the uprisings against the dictators starting in Tunisia and progressing through Egypt, Libya and on had been earlier demonstrated when in 1979 under the watchful eye of President Jimmy Carter when Iran threw off the dictatorial Shah and installed an Islamist government which was even more oppressive than the Shah had been. The only difference was that these were Sunni countries and not Shiite countries so the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power. Thus far none of the nations that experienced a transformation as part of the Arab revolts has returned to a peaceful life free from terrorism, shooting wars in the streets and general mayhem disrupting everyday life. The worst of these is obviously Syria followed by Yemen, Libya and on through Egypt and Tunisia. Egypt may be the only one which may be spared an Islamist dark ages as the people rose up a second time and the military took that opportunity to execute a coup, whether anybody cares to call it by that name it was still a coup. Tunisia may be the next nation to throw off their Islamist rulers that usurped power in the elections after the revolution as the people in Tunisia are still rising up demanding the government address the weak economy and the rampant poverty resulting from poor governance. Tunisia bears watching and if any nation desires to do the right thing, perhaps some assistance before the secularists are beaten down by Islamist fascists could enable changes towards a more liberated society and the improved economy such might facilitate. Libya has devolved into tribal warfare which shows little signs of waning. Iraq is being consumed by a Shiite-Sunni war with Iran and the government of Iraq fighting against al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood forces in the resumption of an ancient struggle for the heart of Islam. Syria, well, Syria is Iraq on steroids with such violence that whoever wins will not really win much as much of Syria has been utterly destroyed and it will be months, likely decades, before Syria will be capable of even the slightest of an economy. Meanwhile Afghanistan has been courting Iran as a replacement for the United States which Afghanistan is contemplating removing unceremoniously after the next elections. Currently Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is holding United States President Obama hostage demanding he will sign the continued American military presence only after the election implying that the Americans need to assure Karzai wins reelection. Fortunately there was little if anything that could have been done politically to alter the results as the Muslim Brotherhood was the only organized political force existent within the Sunni nations. The Shiite nations all fall under the sway of Iran which will likely start sewing unrest in Shiite majority nations and areas such as the Northeast Saudi oil fields once the disasters in Iraq and Syria are concluded and they have tested a nuclear device in order to protect their efforts from outside interferences.


There is unrest currently rocking Kiev particularly and the Ukraine generally over President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to cancel a deal to integrate Ukraine with the European Union under duress from Russia’s Putin threatening to cut trade relations and other threats in order to hold on to the former Soviet possession. This is a direct result of inaction by the Western nations, especially the United States. The Ukraine has been available to incorporate into NATO if the other NATO countries had been more flexible, agreeable and afforded the Ukraine and other central Eurasian nations that were freed with the fall of the Soviet Union. There is plenty of blame to spread over the long list of Presidents of the United States who dropped the ball which include George H W Bush, William Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama. The European Union does not get off without some culpability as they have not exactly bent over backwards to assist the Ukraine entering the European Union. This may be the final chance to provide the Ukraine with an exit from under the thumb of Putin and Russian influence. Making demands that the Ukraine must meet including political changes is not facilitating an easy transfer from Russian orbit to joining the European Union. The path from Soviet possession to democratic governance was particularly difficult for the Ukraine and other former Soviet possessions. Especially Georgia, which attempted to break free and join with the West, only to be left hanging as Russian tanks rolled across their border reestablishing Russian influence using aiding the breakaway South Ossetia Province as their reason for invading Georgia. Just add Georgia to the list of countries that attempted to gain freedom only to be left hanging helplessly before Soviet style tactics employed by ex KGB Russian President Putin. Will the Ukraine be the next notch on Putin’s gun belt? The unfortunate answer is that it is very likely as there is nobody in the West who appears ready to do anything to intervene and provide an alternative to caving to Russian pressures. Yet another opportunity squandered. History will possibly call this the quarter century squandered that allowed whatever conflicts that will result to the lack of vision by Western leaders who were blind to great and fleeting opportunities.


Beyond the Cusp


December 14, 2013

Hagel’s Syria Conundrum

United States Secretary of Defense has a dilemma concerning supporting the Syrian rebels fighting to unseat President Bashir al-Assad and his oppressive Alawite regime; he is unsure where the secular forces are that he wishes to aid. Anybody familiar with the Middle East or who had paid attention to the various events unfolding in what was euphemistically referred to as the Arab Spring would have predicted the events to come in the Syrian civil war right from the start. Even Tunisia which likely had the easiest transition from their former oppressive leader to an elected oppressive leadership depicted the direction that every single Arab uprising was destined to travel. They would be initiated by secular libertine interests only to be replaced by populist Islamic rulers either from the Muslim Brotherhood or possibly aligned with al-Qaeda who would be just as oppressive and economically depressing as their former dictators. Egypt was the fortunate state as it has actually returned to its military rule which, though far from idyllic, is far more accommodating of a plurality culture than the Islamists who support oppressive and destructive intentions for all non-Muslim segments of their societies demanding a Dhimmi existence at best and eradication at worst. Syria simply lasted long enough in its revolutionary struggle for the Islamists to be required to actually fight for their preeminent positions because the secular revolt proved insufficient to oust a very tenacious Bashir al-Assad. Thus, in Syria the cat is out of the bag and it has become obvious even to those who most stubbornly desired to never see the reality, that the change which was to come in the Middle East from the more accurately described Arab Winter was a transition from nationalist oppressive dictatorships to Islamic oppressive dictatorships. So, now poor Secretary of Defense Hagel is left with aid to equip the secular resistance in Syria and nobody or place to ship it too where the Islamist forces would end up the recipients.


Exactly how did this dilemma come about? Initially the revolution in Syria consisted of the Free Syrian Army which was pluralistic and fighting for a secular western style governance in Syria just as the secular forces had risen up for freedom and liberty in Tunisia and Egypt and the rest. This was the high point for the secularists as they were at their peak strength with the largest forces they would muster in their efforts to overthrow Syria’s dictatorial government. Virtually everybody who was going to join their cause and fight for an open and inclusive society were enlisted and either they were going to win a quick and easy victory or die trying. Well, they did not win a quick victory but did begin to die trying and as they did their forces began to dwindle as there were no reserves from which to draw replacement troops. The Islamists, in this case Sunni in particular, realized that the secularists were going to be unable to win this revolution for them and were required to grab the opportunity offered them and try to unseat a wounded Assad or simply permit Assad to win and then unleash his revenge on a hapless nation. They chose to take their shot at removing Assad and replacing him the old fashion way, by sheer force. As time wound on it should have become painfully obvious to the Western interests who were backing the secularist Free Syrian Army that there would soon be nobody left to aid or at least such a small and ineffectual force as to be useless and in an impossible position caught between the Islamist forces and Assad’s Syrian military might.


So, what are the libertine forces from the Western nations to do facing this new reality of all this aid and nobody to receive it? The one suggestion we might wish for them to entertain would actually make for their gaining an advantage out of two less than promising difficulties. The one way that they can come out winners with an ally in place, at least for the time being as nothing is guaranteed to last eternally, would be to recognize the Kurdish forces in the area bordering Iraq and Syria and recognize a new liberated group who desperately want and most definitely deserve their own nation. The British had promised the Kurds their own nation which would have included a small section of eastern Turkey, areas of northeastern Syria and the northern third of Iraq but, as the British were want to do when redrawing the lines of the Middle East after World War I, they broke their promise just as they carved up three quarters of what was set aside for the Jewish State to form a Palestinian Arab state ruled by the Hashemite allies called Jordan, the British enlarged Iraq to include almost all of what would have been Kurdistan simply so the Getty family could exploit the northern Iraqi oil fields with the blessings of their friend whom they placed to rule Iraq in their interest. So, why not do the right thing for a huge change and set to rights an exploitive decision by the colonialist powers that used self-serving interests to guide them and paid service to their greed rather than doing that which they knew was right and promised and forgo some amount of profit. Here is your way out of this predicament and an honorable path as well, which is why nobody in Washington, London or Paris will ever think of setting promises kept even if at a later date.


Beyond the Cusp


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