Category Archives: USA Foreign Policy

Preparing to Howl

It seems that we are all in for a very rough ride.  Based on the evidence to-date, the US seems determined to reset its economy. But since misery loves company, many nations of the world have been drawn into the same sorry boat.  There are some benefits in resetting the global economy, and three of them follow.

 The First Benefit – Relief from Despots

 Many despots around the world have stolen and hidden money that was intended for their countries.  Many of them are well known, but the governments of other nations appear unwilling to confront them.  This money should have been circulating in the nation to invest in their companies, provide employment to their citizens, and to enable the general population to pay for their basic necessities and other property.  Since this money is out of circulation, then the masses become a burden to the state.

If the state is governed by a despot, then history has shown that only the military and the politically favored will be cared for.  Resetting the global economy can eliminate this practice if a single global banking authority, issuing a single global currency in digital form, is used.

 The Second Benefit – Relief from those who Hoard Money

 When people hoard vast sums of money in safety deposit boxes and other non-investment instruments, then the money is removed from the economic system and it cannot circulate.

 I believe that money is an economic tool that should be used, not laid aside to be idle for long periods of time.  Property can be hoarded, but our current economic system depends on everyone purchasing and selling property using the same tool called money.  Therefore, money is not property.  Rather, money is a tool of the economic system and it must circulate if the system is to work for everyone.

 People should purchase physical assets with the (not their) money, so that this money can return to the system for others to use.  People should be free to accumulate as much property as they wish, and to hold a reasonable amount of money to pay for their transactions.  But removing large sums from the circulatory system can hurt everyone.  Therefore, resetting the system can solve the problem of persons who hoard the tools of the economic system, whether by greed, spite, or ignorance.

 The Third Benefit – Relief from Counterfeiters

 Resetting the economy can provide an opportunity to solve the massive monetary counterfeiting problem, which can increase inflation if the counterfeited money is circulated.

 Challenges with Resetting the Economy

 The problems with resetting the economic system so that everyone starts with the same amount, is that the currency must become worthless.  One way of achieving this is by printing money that is not backed by an equivalent value of assets.  The most recent example of this is Zimbabwe, whose currency has essentially failed.  The US President and Congress appear set to print trillions of dollars, increase social services, and increase taxes, while encouraging other nations to do the same.  So far, Europe is resisting.  We should all pay attention to the G20 meeting in London next month.

 The greater consequences of resetting the economy have to do with the likely national social upheaval, and the nation-to-nation conflicts.

 National Planning for the Resetting of the Economy

 With proper planning, a country can make the reset-transition less painful.  As the value of the currency declines, the Government can selectively nationalize major banks, private sector businesses, and personal property.  Therefore, by embarking on a massive house building and government expansion program before the economic crisis, the Government can both employ and house its desperate citizens following the crisis.

 Hostility Risks

 The principal challenge with resetting the economy is dealing with other nations who are holding your now worthless currency.  Iceland is a recent example.  When the Government of Iceland stated that they could not guarantee the UK investors’ 3 billion pounds, the UK Government seized 4 billion pounds of Island’s assets until an agreement could be reached.  Previous amicable relations between nations mean little if one party cannot fulfill their financial obligations.

 China currently holds US$3 trillion in US assets, most of which will become worthless if the economy is reset.  Should the US not provide satisfactory guarantees to China and other nations in a similar predicament, then we should prepare for some hostile relations.

 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! (James 5:1)

Thank you USA for caring – many do not!

Dear Residents of the USA:

Thank you for caring enough to intervene in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations in order to stop mass murder.  Thank you for the lives that you have saved at the incalculable sacrifice of your sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters.  My words are an insufficient expression of the gratitude that I feel, but thank you none-the-less.

You are not obligated to save the lives of people of other nations, and you do not intervene in all countries that desperately need military intervention, but thank you for when you have intervened.

I believe that nations should not interfere with the internal affairs of other nations, and should respect their sovereignty and territorial integrity.  I do not believe that any nation has the right to violate another nation’s sovereignty in order to bring relief to citizens suffering under a leader who is corrupt, and has mismanaged the country’s finances and social services.  That is an internal matter for the citizens to resolve.  However, some leaders see their citizens as their property, to torture and murder at will.

When leaders begin to mass murder their citizens, then those leaders should become illegitimate and the United Nations should remove them.  Unfortunately, the United Nations is not effective at removing despots, so generations of people continue to suffer.

Human beings are not property, as African slaves were legally defined some 200 years ago.  All human beings are our brothers and sisters, and they are not somehow less valuable just because they have the misfortune of living under an oppressive regime.  Every oppressed person has the right to expect to be liberated.

Being liberated must be a wonderful feeling.  In neighbouring Grenada, despots executed the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet, and massacred some civilians in 1983.  The governments of Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Antigua, and St. Vincent responded by informally asking US President Reagan to join them in a coalition of the willing in order to liberate the people of Grenada.  The USA only agreed to participate after these nations made a formal request.  President Reagan then convinced the American public to support the intervention, by explaining that the operation included securing the safety of American medical students at the university in Grenada.

I followed that operation with interest since Barbados was used as the staging area for what was called Operation Urgent Fury.  I remember when it was all over, and President Reagan subsequently visited Grenada, that the Grenadian people were so elated that they wanted to change their national anthem to the US national anthem – such was the temporary exhilaration of being liberated, and I felt their joy.

I have subsequently read publications that criticised the USA’s involvement in the operation.  I understand that the US has meddled in the affairs of other nations and has supported despots who have committed mass murder.  That is clearly wrong.  However, I have visited Grenada many times and regardless of the US Government’s motives, Grenadians are generally happy that the US participated in their liberation.Many people have misgivings about the war in Iraq.  However, that invasion sent a message to depots and potential despots worldwide that sovereign borders will not be respected if they start to mass murder their citizens.  It should be noted that people living in developing countries, under leaders with little accountability, can potentially be one election away from despotism.

Thank you again for caring.

Avoiding Extremes

Dear Readers:

Very few people wish to be associated with persons or groups who have had their behaviour or beliefs labelled as extreme. Some popular terms that have been used to describe extreme behaviour or beliefs are: radical, far left, far right, liberal, fundamentalist, and extremist. Most people prefer to be associated with groups labelled as moderate, and for good reason.

There is a risk of negative publicity, victimization, or other forms of persecution if one is labelled as an extremist or belonging to a group classified as extreme. Labelling persons or groups as extreme is an easy and effective way of dismissing their ideas and dissuading other people from seriously considering their concerns.

People cannot define extreme positions in isolation, but in relation to other positions in a community. Communities generally decide for themselves what is normal and acceptable behaviour, and they are better equipped to determine what behaviour falls outside of the boundaries of acceptable behaviour for their community. Depending on the number and variation of positions within a community, it is possible that one person’s extreme right position may be another person’s extreme left. Even within a so-called far left group, there can be far right and far left positions. It is also possible that the community’s entire practises can be determined to be outside of another community’s boundaries of acceptable behaviour.

Therefore defining a belief, philosophy, or behaviour as extreme is a highly subjective practise with no universal rules for making the determination. It has become a mischievous tool used by irresponsible media persons, political activists, academics, and diplomats to dismiss the opinions of various individuals and groups as irrelevant.

Barbados has joined this irresponsible practise of recklessly labelling people and groups as extremist without any basis for making the assertions. It would be useful if their audience had the tools to determine for themselves what views were actually extremist using criteria that can be universally applied, rather than being influenced by one person’s subjective opinion.

Models based on principles is one method that can be used to identify a moderate position. Principals such as “harm”, and “help” can be the two extremes, and “do nothing” can be the moderate position. Testing this model reveals that the moderate position is not preferred if one’s neighbour’s house is on fire. Hence, if the community desires to be labelled moderate, then the moderate view must be the preferred option and it must lie between the two extremes. However, this model can become very complex if it could not be determined whether a short-term response would actually help or harm a community in the long term.

Another method is to define criteria for left, right, or moderate views. The main criterion can be the level of control that a state or organisation has on individuals, or the amount of responsibility that people are given to make decisions. With more state control, there can be less individual responsibility and vice versa. Both the state and the individual can make decisions that do not benefit the community and which can expose the community vulnerable to significant harm. The middle ground is one that balances both the state’s and individuals’ responsibility to the community’s good so that the consequences for significant harm to the community from both state and individual decisions are mitigated.

Both models are sensitive to changes in the political and social environment and would require monthly or sometimes weekly community surveys to determine, through public opinion, the location of the new moderate or middle position. The models are therefore impractical for universal application.

There is therefore no known working model to determine extreme or moderate views, yet persons continue to recklessly label groups as extremist. We may not consider the behaviour of some groups or individuals normal in our environment, but it may be considered normal in theirs. This is evident with some so-called “resistance” organisations the Middle East. We do not know what injustice, real or imagined, that has caused them to engage in what we may define in our community as unacceptable behaviour. Their current behaviour may not be based on facts or reason, but it may be pursued out of a perceived necessity.

What are these groups trying to say? What are their concerns? They are difficult to accurately define. For their views have been dismissed as extremist by influential persons, and their concerns have been clouded by their own propaganda efforts.

The USA in the Balance

Read Readers: 

For some it is a land of freedom, justice, and equal opportunity, while for others it is the great satan. Everyone seems to have an opinion on the United States of America, but what is generally opined on is a facet of American culture. In 2006, the United States of America (US) celebrated the 230th anniversary of their independence. Today, we shall examine the American culture.

Approximately 370 years ago, groups of Christians fled religious persecution in Europe and sought refuge in America. Liberal minded persons seeking freedom from political persecution, and opportunists hoping to find their fortune followed them. Human greed led to the creation of an oppressed group of displaced Native Americans and African slaves.

The Christian influence promoted a culture of righteousness and morality, the liberal influence promoted a culture of equality and freedom, and the opportunist influence promoted a culture of commerce. The oppressed influenced a culture in pursuit of justice. Thus four distinct influences promoting four distinct sub-cultures became the cultural foundation of modern America.

These sub-cultures are still evident in modern American culture, each striving for dominance, thereby resulting in a state of imbalance. When one sub-culture is allowed to dominate an environment, to the exclusion of the other sub-cultures, then the resulting imbalance tends to corrupt that environment. This can lead to a negative perception of America.

A dominant Christian influenced culture in its quest for righteousness and morality, can neglect obvious social responsibilities, which can lead to a distrust of America. A dominant liberal influenced culture in its quest for equality and freedom, can promote lower standards of morality and education, which can lead to disrespect for America. A dominant opportunistic influenced culture in its quest for commerce can promote a disregard for the damaging consequential social and environmental costs, which can lead to contempt of America. A dominant oppressed influenced culture in its quest for justice, can expose corrupt, hypocritical, and unjust American practices, which can lead to a hatred of America.

America’s challenge is to bring these sub-cultures into a sustainable equilibrium. The relatively recent unbalanced social policies have not brought about the desired cultural equilibrium, but have instead required expensive social repair programmes.

The current curriculum in most of the public schools has brought about some measure of academic equality. However, it has also resulted in an inward looking society that places little value in things outside of America. The promotion of immoral and irresponsible behaviour has given some persons a feeling of freedom, but it has also led to dangerous addictions, diseases, and crime. The social welfare programs have assisted the poor, but they have also bred a culture of dependency. The affirmative action programs have given minority groups educational and work opportunities. However, they have also bred resentment within those groups who do not qualify.

The Christian influenced culture is losing ground to an increasingly dominant and hostile liberal culture. The oppressed culture is becoming more prominent as oppressed persons are given more avenues to tell their stories. With the declining Christian influence, the opportunistic and liberal influenced cultures have lost their conscience, as they pursue unbalanced policies oblivious to their damaging consequences.

For all of our sakes, these sub-cultures need to achieve a state of equilibrium with great urgency, since Barbados was scheduled to enter a free trading environment with America in 2005. To appreciate aspects of American culture does not mean that one supports the disequilibrium that often results in unbalanced policies, and to criticize such policies does not mean that one hates America or its citizens. Regrettably, modern American culture promotes a dismissive arrogance towards any comment from a non-American that is not complimentary of their policies.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Dear Readers:

In 2003, Iraq was invaded by a self-proclaimed coalition of the willing, and Barbados took a firm stance against such coalitions invading a country without the sanction of the United Nations (UN).

There have always been coalitions of the willing who have felt compelled to act due to the offensiveness of atrocities committed by governments of other nations. Such coalitions have also been severely criticized by some non-coalition members who felt that a diplomatic solution should have been sought, and that the invasion of a sovereign nation was premature or wrong.

When the Grenadian army murdered most of the Grenadian cabinet ministers in 1983, Barbados participated in a coalition of the willing who felt compelled to take immediate action, without UN approval, and despite the objections of other Caribbean states. The UN should be a respected institution, however its bureaucracy does not always lend it to respond in a timely manner, and due to its structure, sometimes it does not respond at all.

One of the most horrific events in my lifetime was the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. UN peace-keeping forces were stationed in Rwanda, and they warned the UN about the impending slaughter. The UN did nothing. When approximately 10,000 Rwandans were being murdered every day, the UN forbade their UN troops from intervening, and the UN Security Council unanimously voted to withdraw most of their troops. After approximately 200,000 Rwandans were massacred, the UN Security Council passed a resolution condemning the killings.

This genocide continued every day for over 3 months while the UN Security Council debated the issue. Over 800,000 Rwandans were murdered and thousands of women were systematically raped and infected with HIV/AIDS. The world looked to the UN to intervene, the UN debated and passed resolutions, while innocent Rwandan civilians died, hoping in vain for a coalition of the willing.

The atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 killed approximately 105,000 Japanese and qualified as weapons of mass destruction. The hands who murdered 800,000 Rwandans, simply because they happened to be born into a different tribe, must also qualify as weapons of mass destruction.

In 1998, the Serbian army massacred tens of thousands of Muslim Kosovar Albanians. Once again the world looked to the UN to stop the slaughter. The UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for both sides to enter into a dialogue, while Muslim men continued to be massacred, and tens of thousands of Muslim women were taken to rape camps and gang raped. The victims hoped for a coalition of the willing, and a coalition responded by invading Bosnia without UN approval, and despite protests from other nations.

Some conflicts are internal, like the current elevated levels of crime in Jamaica and Guyana. However, when a government authorises its agents to torture and murder civilians, then it ceases to become only an internal matter. It becomes the responsibility of those nations with a conscience.

Were the atrocities that were committed in Grenada, Rwanda, and Serbia immediate threats to the world? Probably not. Are the atrocities committed in Iraq, Zimbabwe, and the Sudan similar threats? Probably not. However if I lived in one of those countries, and they came for me, then the pain inflicted by my torturers would pale in comparison to the disgust that I would feel for those trying to discourage any help from coming my way. I cannot image the horror that the Rwandans felt when they saw the UN soldiers leave, thereby condemning them to certain torture and death?

Let me state that I completely agree with our Prime Minister’s suggestion that the actions of the current coalition of the willing have no place in a civilized world. However, it is very easy for us to sit in a land blessed by God with relative peace, forget that the world is not yet a civilized place, and judge those who feel compelled to respond to the atrocities being committed by governments of other nations. We much prefer an academic debate on the sovereign rights of national governments, and refuse to acknowledge the greater human rights of individuals. We have become almost completely insensitive to the torture of civilians in other nations who desperately cling to the fading hope of a liberator.

The most horrific atrocity in my lifetime has been the senseless torture and killing of the most vulnerable among us. Our hands were designed, inter alia, to gently receive the next generation into our nations, and babies instinctively trust our hands. Rather than lovingly welcome them into this world, many who should know better betray that trust, and send them into the next world after inflicting upon them the most cruel and inhumane torture imaginable, simply because they happed to be conceived. With over 40 million babies tortured and killed in the USA alone, and thousands in Barbados annually, those hands must certainly qualify as the most deadly weapons of mass destruction to date.

Iraq in the Balance

 (Written Wednesday 19th March 2003) 

Dear Readers:

The United Nations’ Security Council unanimously passed resolution no. 1441, requiring Iraq to provide documentary evidence of its banned chemical, biological, nuclear, and ballistic weapons programmes, including the locations of such weapons. The resolution appears to have the support of all nations, including Barbados. Today we shall examine this resolution.

In order to determine compliance with the resolution, the United Nations (UN) has directed weapons inspectors comprising the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, to confirm the accuracy and completeness of the evidence provided by Iraq. The inspectors are then to confirm whether Iraq’s banned weapons have been destroyed or rendered harmless.

It is very difficult to find weapons if they are well hidden in a country the size of Iraq, which is approximately 1000 times larger in area than Barbados. The UN resolution does not require the UN inspectors to search for weapons, but simply to verify that the information provided by Iraq is complete and accurate.

In examining this issue, it is important to state where there is agreement between Iraq and the UN weapons inspectors. The documentary evidence supplied by Iraq is not complete. There is no evidence to support the claim that Iraq had revived their nuclear weapons programme. There is evidence to support that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. Some of these weapons were used to kill Iranian soldiers, some were used to kill Kurds, and some were destroyed during the Persian Gulf War. There is also agreement that there are still approximately 1,000 tons of chemical agents unaccounted for, as well as quantities of the biological agent Anthrax and the nerve agent VX.

Iraq asserts that they unilaterally destroyed their remaining chemical and biological agents by pouring them into the ground. However, there is no evidence to confirm whether all or any of the agents were actually destroyed. The inspectors have required that Iraq provide convincing evidence to support their assertion. This evidence can come from documentation, or testimony from those involved in the production and destruction of the chemical and biological agents. Iraq has not yet provided the UN inspectors with this evidence. This is the essential issue.

There are many important ancillary issues, some fuelled by fact and some by speculation and rumour. The source of Iraq’s banned weapons, Iraq’s role in the USA’s foreign policy in the Middle Eastern region, other nation’s possession of similar weapons, and the UN’s inconsistent response to dictators in other nations committing atrocities, are important issues. However, they are outside of the scope of the UN resolution 1441.

For 12 years, the inspectors have reported that Iraq had failed to co-operate with them. However, after a mass military build-up outside of Iraq’s border, and the unwavering determination by the US and Britain to disarm Iraq by force if necessary, the UN inspectors have reported that Iraq finally appeared to be co-operating. Iraq has identified the sites where their remaining weapons were supposedly destroyed, and have proposed than an analytical method be used to determine the original quantity from the residues. The inspectors are concerned that such analytical methods are open to misinterpretation and have requested the required documents or testimonies. The inspectors have also attributed Iraq’s recent co-operation to the resolute and visible threat of forcible disarmament.

If the UN inspectors do not receive the documentary or testimonial evidence showing that the chemical and biological agents were destroyed, or if they find that the sites identified by Iraq do not contain residues of all of the remaining weapons, then it would appear is if Iraq is determined not to co-operate with the UN inspectors. It would further appear as if Iraq is intent on continuing to frustrate the efforts of the UN inspectors, and the UN should not tolerate this non-co-operation.

However, if the inspectors report that the identified sites do contain residues of all of the remaining weapons, then the US and British massive military build-up outside of Iraq would have successfully achieved their objective, and they should demobilize. Some of the UN inspectors should continue in a monitoring role for a period of time specified by the UN, and the sanctions imposed on Iraq should be relaxed and eventually phased out.

The UN resolution 1441 was intended to give Iraq one final opportunity to destroy their banned weapons peacefully. The responsibilities for complying with this resolution rest entirely with Iraq. The consequences of Iraq not complying with this resolution may affect us all.