Woodrow Wilson was one of our greatest Presidents. His fondest dream was the establishment of a worldwide organization, whereby member nations could meet, negotiate and settle disputes, ending the need to routinely resort to warfare. Ironically, the U.S. never became a member--due to our legislators' reluctance to permit anyone other than themselves (however sensible and appropriate others' suggestions might be) regarding our role in international affairs. Wilson died heartbroken in the knowledge that the concepts he envisioned in his Fourteen Points--the last being the proposal for this association of nations--had been rejected by his fellow countrymen. (In my book, "One World," I favorably describe President Wilson's efforts in this direction.)
President Obama somewhat reminds me of President Wilson. He is extremely intelligent, yet not afraid to shed a tear in public. Like Wilson, he believes that discussion ought precede pugnacity. I am not averse to the use of power and might to deal with objective evil, when it can't be eliminated in any other way. But I know that ignoring a potential problem as it arises, or refusing to speak with the source thereof, is an improper and dangerous choice. I hope Mr. Kerry can at least "get the ball rolling" toward a sea change in our policies and activities regarding the Middle East.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
It has been asserted that military intervention by the United States in response to the Assad regime's alleged use of chemical weapons, absent United Nations approval, would constitute a violation of international law. This is logically true--except: From whence does "international law" emanate? Where is it practiced? How is it enforced?
The declarations recited during the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conferences, that chemical devices should never be resorted to (even before they were fully developed to be subsequently used in World War I) were obviously ignored when the "War to end all Wars" finally broke out. The prohibitions of same that issued out of the 1925 Geneva Convention were similarly frequently ignored. (In fact, the United States didn't ratify it until 1975--a half century later.)
The League of Nations that followed World War I was an excellent idea--by an excellent American President (Woodrow Wilson)--who died heartbroken in the knowledge that his own country refused to join (contributing to its weakness and eventual failure, as World War II began).
The United Nations is similarly riven with ineffectiveness and politically driven contradictions. Instead of a UNION of nations, it is but a COLLECTION of nations, where little is accomplished at the table--and even LESS in the field. (In my book, World Unity, I detail the faults of both of these well-meaning but basically impotent organizations.)
Joining together with others to "straighten out the mess," seems a more sensible alternative. Should the United States have fallen victim to its zeal to be "policeman of the world," and now "parent of the world," it would likely have accomplished little, and inherited more international disdain.
Monday, September 9, 2013
The United States has been termed the "Policeman of the world," as we took steps to curb wrongdoing, and attempted to preserve the peace in places like Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, etc., etc. This reminds me of the New York City Police Department's Youth Division stepping in to prevent or break up a "rumble" (youth gang conflict) on the Streets of New York. However, the U.S. is now assuming the role of "parent" of the world--as we determine methods to "slap the wrist" of a misbehaving nation, or a faction therein.
Secretary of State John Kerry will see to it that the "spanking" we give the Assad regime is an "unbelievably small, limited kind of effort," to be directed toward a limited number of targets within a limited period of time.
I am reminded of "modern" parents, who may resort to "swatting" a misbehaving child on his "backside"--once!--as a means of dealing with his transgression. (I don't recommend more brutal means be inflicted upon children--or anyone else, for that matter. However, I can't help but consider such steps being laboriously considered and debated by nation "A," in response to suspected misbehavior by nation "B," to be not only ineffectual, but even a bit comical.)
In my book, World Unity, I liken nations' behavior to occasionally resemble that of children in a schoolyard, or youth gangs in certain urban neighborhoods. I should have broadened these similes to include that of parents and children, when instances such as the Syrian scenario arise.
Friday, September 6, 2013
It doesn't take a genius mentality to decipher why this country (and England, and France, etc.) are laboriously considering and determining whether and how to respond to the horrible cruelty perpetrated by faction A (the Assad regime) and/or faction B (the rebels themselves) upon a thousand or more people--including many innocent men, women, and children--while truly WORSE factionalist nightmares, like Rwanda, Sudan, Somalia, etc., etc., which resulted in MILLIONS of deaths, went on hardly noticed by the powers that be in our part of the world (save for a "Band-Aid" application of a few Blue Helmets in the case of Rwanda).
Among the more obvious answers is the fact that the Middle East, with its oil-fueled atmosphere and economy, has long been of direct (as in development and investment) or at least indirect (as in the need to keep our machines and vehicles running) importance to many of the giant earners here and nearby. I speak a lot about the evils of factionalism and harmful self-interest in numerous parts of my book, "World Unity."
While the ultimate ambition should naturally be the fostering and maintenance of peace and harmony among all of us--our leaders should decide upon necessary and sensible steps to deal with such wrongs as should occur, considering only scope and importance, without regard to the economic factors or interests pertaining to the particular place involved.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
It appears that many of us, up until this present very hot August day, continue to debunk the warnings about the sorry state of our environment--and particularly about the fact that global warming is real, is caused to a great extent by humanity's heedless activities, and will come to constitute a real and horrid danger in the years ahead. Picture, for example, instead of the 91 to 93 daytime degrees we have been enduring for weeks in central Florida, waking up to a weather forecast of 110 to 120 degrees (such as did recently befall parts of California).
In my book, World Unity, I devote a good deal of comment to our broken ecology, together with proposals to repair it before it is too late (said activities must necessarily transcend individual nations' claims of "sovereignty"--which are frequently but an excuse to continue ignoring and promoting ecological disaster in said nation's corner of the world--by reason of the fact that the results of unwise and damaging activities do not stop at "the border," but become worldwide in scope and effect.
As regards the allegation that 90-X percent of the scientific community are of the opinion that global warming is truly occurring--and that the culprits are largely we humans--I am constrained to utter the old-but-wise platitude that "fifty million Frenchmen can't [likely] be wrong" (i.e., we should "play safe," and side with the majority of the scientific world).
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Today, we are told, there happen to be at least two million of these unfortunate persons--approximately half of which being children--as a result of the ongoing efforts by one faction to wrest control of government within Syria from its current possessors of power. A particularly cruel and unjust situation that arises when factional conflict flares up within a particular locale is the creation of a refugee populace.
It is likely that the faction seeking to gain control away from the present powers that be possess no more competence or capability to effectively direct affairs, or deal with conditions that should arise within, that portion of our world than those who are now so desperately and stubbornly seeking to retain it (to the point of possibly resorting to the infliction of chemical weapons upon women and children). One probable result will be for many of the "lucky" survivors to become additional members of the aforesaid "refugee" multitude.
In my book, World Unity, I detail the causes, extent, and needless suffering associated with the creation of refugee populations in various parts of our world; how factional conflict is frequently at its root; and how illogical border lines have served to exclude--or sometimes to imprison--human beings at numerous times and places.
What is needed in this presently unfortunate part of our world--and everywhere else, in actuality--is a joinder of all people to request, seek, and demand a single unified guiding entity, whose purpose would not be to exercise and retain power--but to promote and preserve benefit and betterment for all people, regardless of religious, cultural, or other affiliation.