[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] U [/yt_dropcap] pon successfully facing the presidency poll challenge from a senior politician Hillary, now Trump has to face and decide the issues in foreign policy. When Donald Trump became a serious contender for the presidency many eyebrows were raised but when he, against all predictions, trounced the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton, many doubts were raised too about his capabilities to the USA and world.
While some of the doubts could be valid, there is no solid proof to say Trump would fail himself, America and world. As for his foreign policy, Trump is likely to embrace some variant of the policies that have been pursued for the past few decades by the nation’s foreign policy establishment. Trump would choose a few elements as reference and consider his own ideas to change the format of US policy.
President Trump may break sharply with the establishment consensus that the USA as super power must play the lead role in imposing order on the world, many signs indicate that Trump will continue to ensure that the USA plays the dominant role in policing the world.
On the eve of presidency poll, Hillary and pro-Hillary media outlets let loose Trumpophobia – fear of Trump- essentially to terrorize the voters and defeat Trump. However, that strategy backfired as people saw through the ugly democratic strategy and Trump was elected to presidency. Now she is trying to cast doubts about the poll itself. . . .
Certainly, many Washington insiders feel differently about Trump whom they consider dangerous. On Election Day, former State Department official Daniel Serwer presented the standard view of the foreign policy establishment that the “dramatic differences” between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made Trump a problematic candidate. Trump “prides himself on unpredictability” while Clinton “has a long track record well within the post-9/11 foreign policy consensus,” Serwer explained, adding that Clinton “wants to maintain the stability of the international system and restore American authority.” With his remarks, Serwer indicated that the foreign policy establishment could trust Clinton but not Trump to use American power to actively enforce a system of global order. The New York Times captured the basic establishment concern that Trump would no longer enforce the system of postwar order that his predecessors had maintained throughout the postwar period.
Trump, making the latest stop on a so-called “thank you” tour of states critical to his 8 November election win, introduced his choice for defense secretary, General James Mattis, to a large crowd in Fayetteville, near the Fort Bragg military base, which has deployed soldiers to 90 countries around the world. He vowed a strong rebuilding of the US military, which he suggested had been stretched too thin. Instead of investing in wars, he said, he would spend money to build up America’s aging roads, bridges and airports.
Critics say Donald Trump’s win foreshadowed an America more focused on its own affairs while leaving the world to take care of itself. They issued more serious warnings about Trump presidency 4 long years, saying Trump would reverse decades of foreign policy practice by withdrawing the USA from its deep engagement with the world. The basic establishment concern is that Trump would no longer enforce the system of postwar order that his predecessors had maintained throughout the postwar period. For the first time since before World War II, Americans chose a president who promised to reverse the internationalism practiced by predecessors of both parties and to build walls both physical and metaphorical but that has never happened.
Leftist scholar Noam Chomsky supported Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary but Sanders himself was a proxy working for Hillary. Chomsky had a message for voters who refused to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton to prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House: You made a “bad mistake.” Chomsky insists that voters did not have to ignore Clinton’s serious shortcomings in order to recognize Trump as the much more serious threat. “What it means is now the left, had Clinton had won, she had some progressive programs. The left could have been organized, to keeping her feet to the fire. What it will be doing now is trying to protect rights…gains that have been achieved, from being destroyed. The GOP “is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.”
Chomsky is too naive not to recognize the act that now since Sept-11 there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats as both are eager to justify the illegal invasions from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya to Syria and legalize crimes against humanity in Islamic world where millions of Muslims have been slaughtered by US led NATO and Israel..
As he toured the USA in the wake of Donald Trump’s devastating electoral victory last month, senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders used his growing influence within the Democratic Party and among the voting population at-large to outline how the country can prevent slipping backward and in fact can move forward—even with Republicans soon in control of both the White House and Congress.”We can beat this guy. We can beat this agenda, but we have to do it in a way that we have never done it before. We have got to bring people together because we are fighting for the future of this country.”
Indeed, Chomsky further warned in the aftermath of the election: “The outcome placed total control of the government—executive, Congress, the Supreme Court—in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history.” Chomsky refuses to admit that Mrs. Clinton now controls the White House and entire system and President Obama is just a puppet. Had she won she would have strengthened Israel to attack Palestine. She would defend the Israeli regime and its crimes against humanity. She would oppose any move for credible peace in the region and support all Zionist schemes with UN veto.
Certainly, many Washington insiders feel differently about Trump. Warnings have been given out by many about the Trump’s uncertain regime without a solid agenda.
Now that Hillary is gone, almost forever, the focus is on Trump’s policy as he has declared to make peace between Israel and Palestine obviously by supporting the establishment of Palestine with his UN veto.
Obama insisted that much of the media commentary about Trump missed the fact that most US officials continue to share the same basic foreign policy goals. Certainly, “there’s enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world,” Obama stated. “That will continue.” Citing the meeting that he held with Trump at the White House after the election, Obama said that Trump expressed a great interest in maintaining “ our core strategic relationships.” Trump, in other words, appeared eager to continue working closely with US allies to enforce a system of global order.
US national interest and core strategic position
Trump’s win took the supporters of “status quo” by shock and foreshadowed an America more focused on its own affairs while leaving the world to take care of itself. The New York Times captured the basic establishment concern that Trump would no longer enforce the system of postwar order that his predecessors had maintained throughout the postwar period.
Certainly, many Washington insiders feel differently about Trump. On Election Day, former State Department official Daniel Serwer presented the standard view of the foreign policy establishment that the “dramatic differences” between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made Trump a problematic candidate. Trump “prides himself on unpredictability” while Clinton “has a long track record well within the post-9/11 foreign policy consensus,” Serwer explained, adding that Clinton “wants to maintain the stability of the international system and restore American authority.” With his remarks, Serwer indicated that the foreign policy establishment could trust Clinton but not Trump to use American power to actively enforce a system of global order.
More serious warnings were issued by pro-Clinton sources. For example, on the day after the election, The New York Times, having failed to get Hillary elected, warned that Trump would reverse decades of foreign policy practice by withdrawing the USA from its deep engagement with the world. “For the first time since before World War II, Americans chose a president who promised to reverse the internationalism practiced by predecessors of both parties and to build walls both physical and metaphorical,” the newspaper reported, Trump would weaken US power.
Although the foreign policy establishment of Bush-Obama-Hillary remains concerned with Trump’s unpredictability and perhaps even his neglect of decades of establishment thinking, several high-level officials in the Obama government have recently begun to suggest that the USA will continue to play the lead role in enforcing a system of international order. President Obama himself has made the case that Donald Trump would not be able to simply dictate a new strategy to the vast bureaucracy that manages the nation’s foreign policy.
The foreign policy decision-making process, according to Obama who seeks continuity in full so that the permanent war agenda of Bushdom reign continues, is the result not just of the President, it is the result of countless interactions and arrangements and relationships between Pentagon and other global militaries, and US diplomats and other diplomats, and intelligence officers and development workers. Obama insisted that much of the media commentary about Trump missed the fact that most US officials continue to share the same basic foreign policy goals. Presidents simply cannot change the course according to their individual fancies. Certainly, “there’s enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world,” Obama stated.
Do Obama and Trump share objectives, values?
Obama wants Trump to maintain the existing world order. Citing the meeting that he held with Trump at the White House after the election, Obama said that Trump “expressed a great interest in maintaining “our core strategic relationships.” Trump, in other words, appeared eager to continue working closely with US allies to enforce a system of global order.
Trump and the Obama have always shared many of the same foreign policy objectives, even though Trump made every effort during his campaign to condemn Obama’s policies as dangerous and destructive to both the United States and the world. For starters, both Trump and the Obama have made it clear that they intend to ensure that the USA remains the most dominant military power in the world. In March 2016, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter presented the basic position of the Obama government when he assured the Senate Committee on Armed Services that the Department of Defense “will keep ensuring our dominance in all domains.” The following month, Trump declared his support for the same objective. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” Trump stated.
Trump has displayed similar commitments on other fundamental issues. Trump has made it clear that he intends to prioritize the interests of the USA above everything else. Trump announced during his campaign that America First will be the major and overriding theme of his government. Indeed, Trump insisted that he would base his foreign policy on the premise that the USA should only take actions in the world that work to its own advantage. “We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests, and the shared interests of our allies,” Trump stated.
President Obama has confirmed that his government has adopted an America First strategy. When he recently commented on his decision to commit the US to the Paris Agreement in order to address the threat of global climate change, Obama confirmed that he was primarily motivated by the US interests at stake. Although Obama has not used the same slogan, he has adopted exclusively an America First strategy. Vice President Joe Biden pointed to Obama strategy when he toured Asia in July 2016 as part of “rebalance” to Asia. “It’s overwhelmingly in our interest”. Two months later, State Department official Antony J. Blinken provided more direct confirmation of Obama’s strategy. “We don’t work with other nations as a luxury, or as charity,” Blinken explained. “Our national interest demands our global engagement.”
Currently, “the biggest threat when it comes to climate change and pollution isn’t going to come from us — because we only have 300 million people,” Obama explained. “It’s going to come from China, with over a billion people, and India, with over a billion people.” With his remarks, Obama indicated that the USA needed to join the Paris Agreement to prevent countries such as China and India from harming America with their pollution.
Both Trump and Obama have also made it clear that they intend to completely destroy the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). In November 2015, Trump outlined his position during a radio commercial in which he pledged to “quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS.” Secretary of State John Kerry took a similar position. The USA has an interest in “terminating ISIL/Daesh, as fast as possible,” Kerry stated.
In fact, the Obama government has been busy working to fulfill its Syria mission. In the time since it began its air campaign in August 2014, USA and coalition forces have conducted more than 15,000 airstrikes against IS and have killed more than 45,000 ISIS fighters. In the end, the outgoing Obama government will soon hand over power to a Trump government that generally shares some of the very same foreign policy commitments.
Trump is now getting ready with his team by appointing his future ministers one by one. Gov. Nikki Haley has been appointed by him as ambassador to the UN. Donald Trump’s critics say he is not a unifier, not a moderating voice, a darling of the Republican mainstream. As governor of South Carolina, she’s been an outspoken opponent of white supremacists, a proponent of immigration, including properly vetted Muslim refugees. And, obviously, a woman, one who sharply criticized him during the presidential campaign. In that light, her nomination as ambassador to the UN marks something new for the coming Trump government.
Some of the president-elect’s previous picks have been beset by claims of racism and bigotry. Governor Haley represents a hairpin turn. Those who have seen Gov. Haley’s improbable rise say the daughter of Indian immigrants is a force to be reckoned with, who has earned considerable respect among black South Carolinians, most of whom are Democrats. It is a kind of symbolic appointment by Trump, to beat back charges of bigotry and misogyny and to be able to make the case that he doesn’t hold grudges against those who stiff-armed him during the primary.
Haley has also triumphed in becoming the first female governor of a state where women have traditionally been marginalized from the political process. “She is an Asian-American woman governor of a state whose constitution was written to weaken the governor’s office just in case a non-white man won the office one day, a state that still has one of the worst records of female legislative leadership in the country. She was the first to breakthrough, has made her mark and ended up being the governor to bring the Confederate flag down.
Trump has decided the persons for many important posts and positions to support his government.
Despite the fact that the foreign policy establishment remains uncertain about Trump’s intentions, the president-elect has provided many signals that he intends for the USA to continue playing an active role in enforcing a system of global order. As Trump has put it, using the standard language of the foreign policy establishment, his government would mainly be “focusing on creating stability in the world.”
Trump’s foreign policy
President Trump is likely to make his own foreign policy while retaining basic structures of it developed for years cutting across the bipolar politics. He would strive to break with the post-9/11 foreign policy consensus of Bush-Obama- Hillary that focused on securing energy and route requirements and considerably reducing Islamic population by murdering millions of Muslims world over with help from countries like Germany led EU, Israel.
Experts the world over express predictions about President Trump’s possible policies, both domestic and foreign. Many argue that he would just continue with Bush-Obama policies. Although the foreign policy establishment remains concerned with Trump’s unpredictability and perhaps even his neglect of decades of establishment thinking, several high-level officials in the Obama administration have recently begun to suggest that the USA will continue to play the lead role in enforcing a system of international order.
Amid all the uncertainty prevailing about what a Trump presidency means for the future role of the USA in the world, one possibility is that Trump will embrace some variant of the policies that have been pursued for the past few decades by the nation’s foreign policy establishment. Although Trump may break sharply with the establishment consensus that the USA must play the lead role in imposing order on the world, many signs indicate that Trump would continue to ensure that American superpower plays the dominant role in policing the world so that it does not appear to be weak.
The standard view of the foreign policy establishment is that the “dramatic differences” between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made Trump a problematic candidate. Trump “prides himself on unpredictability” while Clinton “has a long track record well within.
Foreign policy, though made by the president and his foreign ministry, it is the foreign minister who is responsible for applying foreign policy stipulations. Hence foreign minister plays important role in implementing foreign policy. Trump is seriously considering many names for the coveted post. His supporters are split in a big factional fight over this premier Cabinet position.
Who should be Donald Trump’s Secretary of State? It’s the followers of establishmentarian Mitt Romney versus those of loyalist Rudy Giuliani. To the winner goes Foggy Bottom and its prestige. It’s possible the spat will end with a third candidate stealing the prize. But one important part of this struggle may be the manner in which it’s being conducted. Perhaps surprisingly, Trump invited Romney to a meeting last weekend at Trump’s Bedminster, N.J. golf course. The two men seemed to hit it off as the confab lasted longer than expected. Afterward, word leaked that Romney was a secretary of State candidate as well.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway publicized it via Twitter, perhaps as way to undermine former Massachusetts Governor Romney’s chance. Giuliani was the early favorite here. Following the election he reportedly told associates he was set for the Secretary of State post, since he’d told Trump it was the only thing he wanted. He’d been a loud and strong Trump surrogate throughout the campaign’s ups and downs. He deserved a reward, he thought. That hints Trump government internal discussions may play out in public on social media, in real time. Buckle up – the Trump years may be dramatic, and exhausting.
But the announcement wasn’t forthcoming. And as any veteran of the Washington appointment wars knows, to linger is to suffer denigration by a thousand published cuts. The press started chewing on Giuliani’s business ties with the government of Qatar and other foreign entanglements. Obviously, as far as President-elect Trump was concerned the former New York City mayor wasn’t “set” for the job. Specifically, the loyalists within Trump’s political operation who think Romney an apostate have turned up the dial on their disapproval. And they’re waving their hands to get Trump’s attention the best way they know how: in public.
Trump needs an efficient and honest person to deal with the world as foreign minister. Henry Kissinger, a Jew chosen to boost the criminally fanatic Jewish nation in Mideast, whatever his accomplishments as Secretary of State to Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, had spent considerable time crossing the globe in shuttle diplomacy, continually spilled internal gossip to journalists.
US presidents have the privilege of maintaining multiple specialists to decide the course on an issue. That’s a quick hook that all the current claimants to the Secretary of State office might be wise to keep in mind. George Shultz, though, was indeed such a Secretary of State to Ronald Reagan. Loyal, phlegmatic, wise in the ways of government, he gave Reagan lots of good advice. Some was ignored – he hated the operation that morphed into the Iran-Contra scandal, for instance. But Shultz was Reagan’s second Secretary of State. The first was Al Haig, a former general who was also a loud, proud international business operator and skilled bureaucratic infighter who thought he knew best about international affairs. He exhausted Reagan’s patience, and when offered Haig’s resignation after only 18 months in office, Reagan accepted it.
However, going by his latest statements, Trump now is seen taking new positions on foreign policy of USA.
Domestic policy is a settled matter for USA but not its foreign policy, especially when in order to showcase its military prowess as advertisement for orders for its new terror goods from across the globe, it has unnecessarily committed the people a core part of cause of deeply involved in terror wars to perpetrate genocides of Muslims and deduction of their assets.
However, as the superpower it has a role to guide the world by a positive foreign policy. Without a credible policy abroad, incumbent president Obama has not been able to positively and successfully assert its global leadership role due mainly to its prolonged and illogical support for the Israel in Mideast and its misuse of UNSC veto facility to shield the Israeli military crimes against humanity.
Bush-Obama duo promoted not only Israeli regime in Mideast to threaten energy rich Arab nations but also the occupation of the American mind by outsiders, especially Israel and US Jews, and process must end.
President-elect Trump maybe inexperienced and lacks the nuanced knowledge of the complex crises the world is passing through but he as a businessman can comprehend the problems particularly in the areas including the US-NATO led terror wars in Islamic world, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Sunni-Shiite war, and the civil war in Syria.
Reports suggest, Donald Trump has laid out a US military policy that would avoid interventions in foreign conflicts to engineer destabilization and regime change. We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” the president-elect said on in Fayetteville, near Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina. “Instead our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying Isis, and we will.” Trump’s remarks came a few hours after Barack Obama delivered what was billed as the final national security address of his presidency.
President Obama, in spite of efforts, has thus far failed to solve the seven-decade old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mainly because he refused to support the Palestine cause at UN and refused to vote for the establishment and thereby only to indirectly promoted Israel and its crimes by gifting huge pile of terror goods. He is also not serious about credible peace talks. That is the reason why his chief mediator Secretary of State John Kerry failed to end the crisis and Israeli aggression and expansionism because he also does not take into account the psychological dimension of the conflict, the agony and pains of Palestinians under Israeli brutality.
Notwithstanding intensive negotiations in 2009-2010 and 2013-2014, the gulf between the two sides has become even deeper and wider, and Palestinians continue to suffer while Israel gain support of all anti-Islamic nations, getting high precision terror goods from USA and EU.
USA and NATO instigated the conflict between brothers Sunnis and Shiite leading to Sunni-Shiite war and ISIS-Shiite wars. Russia has joined the onslaught of Muslims in Syria. The civil war in Syria will not end unless the US changes its approach to the war by putting both Putin and Assad on notice that the slaughter of Syrian civilians must immediately come to an end.
ISIS, apparently launched by USA to continue with its global permanent war project, has made the plight of global Muslims worse. Defeat of ISIS, however, is not to bring an end to the Sunni-Shiite conflict as long as Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are fighting for regional hegemony. They will continue to wage a proxy war in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen to secure their goal.
ISIS has been invented to divide both Iraq and Syria. But the lack of natural resources (i.e. oil) in the Sunni dominated areas is the bottleneck. Maintaining a united Iraq or Syria has become problematic now. Only a long period of peaceful coexistence between the two sides will allow them over time to develop a closer, more trusting, and friendlier relationship. This would also bring an end to the bloodshed between Sunnis and Shiites and to weaken ISIS. This will greatly satisfy the Saudis as the Sunnis will maintain a strong foothold in Iraq while Iran will still be in a position to exert some influence on the Shiite government.
The USA cannot assert its commanding regional role and at the same time save the Syrian people from near-complete destruction by leading from behind and merely providing military equipment and material to the rebels. USA has put an end to 81 years of the continuous Sunni rule of essentially a Shiite Iraq and is eager to end Shiite rule of Sunni state Syria but Russia supports Iran and also supports Syrian regime. The Iraqi Sunnis now find themselves at the mercy of the Shiite governing majority, which has systematically discriminated against and marginalized them from the first day the Maliki-led Shiite government came to power.
Image of US super power would increase as genuine phenomenon. Only by creating the social, political, and psychological atmosphere conducive to peace, and with the support of the Arab states, the EU, and other major powers, can the negotiations be resumed with a far better prospect of success. Trump said USA has become dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. Trump’s entire campaign is built around the idea that foreign influences are infecting the USA. One way of understanding the different directions of Bush-Obama duo is through American exceptionalism. Sanders voters want to make America more like the rest of the world. Trump voters want to keep America a nation apart. Trump wants to build a strong honest America.
Focusing on a process of reconciliation between nations that would mitigate the profound mutual distrust, Trust must try to instill a sense of mutual security, and disabuse the strong constituencies on both sides that they can have it all.
The USA must recognize that Russia has been for decades seeking a strong foot hold in West Asia to replace USA but now USA has given that opportunity in Syria. Russia will be a permanent fixture in Syria backed by Assad and Iran. Iran will not relinquish its longstanding interest and influence in Damascus as Tehran views Syria as the linchpin to the Shiite-dominated crescent of land between the Mediterranean and the Gulf.
There could be chaos in Syria even if the war ends. Apparently, Assad alone can keep intact the bureaucracy, military and internal security apparatus to prevent a replay of what happened in Iraq following the US invasion. By the way, a replay of what happened in Iraq following the US invasion could happen in Syria after the removal of Assad or end of war. Trump must convey in unequivocal terms to Putin and Assad that they must stop the indiscriminate bombing and killing of tens of thousands of innocent Syrians while erasing one neighborhood after another. Given Putin’s desire to work closely with Trump, he is likely to be more receptive in finding a solution to the conflict.
As the super power, USA has the responsibility to bring peace to world. It is quite likely that new president of USA would decide to end terror wars and stop misusing NATO for the Pentagon’s showcasing the prowess of US militarism.
In the end, the outgoing Obama administration will soon hand over power to a Trump administration that shares some of the very same foreign policy commitments. Despite the fact that the foreign policy establishment remains uncertain about Trump’s intentions, the president-elect has provided many signals that he intends for the USA to continue playing an active role in enforcing a system of global order. As Trump has put it, using the standard language of the foreign policy establishment, his government would mainly be focusing on creating stability in the world.
President Trump has got the firmness to persuade either side to make the significant concessions needed to make peace possible. By further pursuing the neutral line of thinking, of Obama, he can make Israel realize that US support for Israeli crimes against humanity is cannot be taken for granted Israel will have to concede the reality that Palestine will come into existence with full sovereignty. Trump can persuade Israel in his talk with Netanyahu in March to make the significant concessions needed to make peace possible by whole heartedly supporting the creation of Palestine state.
Election of Trump sent warning to Israel. Israel has stopped terror attacking the Palestine Gaza strip or kill children there ever since Trump emerged victory. Israel fears Trump. The current relative calm therefore should not be taken for granted as the simmering tension can explode any time when Trump faces problems in USA or if the Palestinians see no prospect of ending the occupation in the foreseeable future. Trump must not hesitate to pressure Israel now to seek a solution and save it from its own destructive path and for Israel’s own future security and political integrity.
Alongside, President Trump should also try a multi pronged approach in solving global problems. Occupation of Palestine and Kashmir by colonialist powers with nukes; war crimes by the Lankan military under Rajapaksha, etc should the focus of his government. Trump should not leave the Palestinians at the mercy of Israel and let it emerge as a genuine nation by ceding all criminal thoughts and plans. A credible peace situation would emerge if Israel accepts to promote the Arab Peace Initiative of 2003.
Trump can easily resolve the fake dispute between India and Pakistan over neighboring Jammu Kashmir which they jointly occupy now, brutally killing Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmir has already lost over 100,000 Muslims by Indian military brutality. Having got selfish agenda, India and Pakistan cannot be trusted to resolve the Kashmir crisis and therefore he must intervene to get peace deal done next year itself.
Establishment of Palestine and Kashmir as sovereign nations will considerably enhance the image of Trump as sensible peace maker and prestige and status of USA as the dependable ally for the cause of peace and prosperity.
Fortunately for Trump and humanity at large the Nobel Peace committee did not honor the president elect Trump with Peace Prize as it has falsely done when Obama was elected as US president as he had just became a usual American politician promoting colonialism, imperialism and capitalism.
Americans taught valuable lessons to Obama through defeating his presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Possibly Trump would be honored new year with a Nobel Peace Prize as the leader who worked sincerely and successfully for the freedom and independence of Palestine and Kashmir, and as a genuine crusader for global peace
The Indignant Politics of America’s Mass Shootings
Why do mass shootings garner the lead stories in the news cycle? Could it be the sudden cluster of deaths alone? Perhaps it is the public fascination over a shooter plotting evil or to illicit political theatre where finger pointing, blaming far-right ideology, chalking it up to mental illness, or creating a stir over the demise of the 2nd Amendment and government taking our guns.
These narratives would seem too simplistic for well-educated lawmakers obfuscating their responsibility by playing into an uncompromising political base rather than demonstrating a bipartisan effort to solving problems. Does the clinging to power in the legislature somehow become more imperative than the pains felt when facing the end of a barrel. In retrospect, lawmakers might ponder one of Mother Teresa’s favorite texts in the bible, which she often quoted to support her ministry, is “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me”.
To avoid fecal mudslinging over attempts to find common ground with political rivals or facing noisy garden-variety cynicism that it is possible to move the needle, courage will be required to grasp the big picture of gun violence and understand critical facts to create value in building trust across the aisle. According to the data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), America is on track this year to be the second highest year for mass shootings with 607 mass shootings through November 22 against a total of 690 in 2021 (GVA defines a mass shooting where at least four people are shot excluding the shooter).
While 637 deaths and 3,179 people shot in mass shootings so far in 2022 is abhorrent, there has been a stark total of 40,373-gun violence deaths in the US this year as of Nov. 29. A total of 21,978 of these deaths were suicides whereas 18,395 comprise of homicides, unintentional, and defensive use.
For those wondering about racism in law enforcement by the likes of Black Lives Matter and the far left defund the police efforts, 62 officers have been killed in the line of duty so far this year with 769 subjects shot dead or injured in police situations.
About 40% of Americans now own firearms where 18% of American households purchased a gun during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 5% of US adults bought a gun for the first time. The question that bares asking is why the increase in purchases. Could it be State AG’s allowing criminals to walk or no-bail for violent crimes only to reoffend and commit further harm and death? What about worried citizens who are fearful of the millions of immigrants illegally crossing the southern border, or the Antifa riots that caused mayhem, death, and destruction with little to no police response to protect neighborhoods and businesses. With Americans being killed at the highest rate in 30 years, they are now packing more than ever to protect their families in what may feel like a purge.
Let’s dig deeper into the starkest gun violence statistic. Black Americans are disproportionately more likely to be killed by a gun with the most vulnerable ages 25-45. According to the CDC, 6,600 were shot dead in this category or at an astonishing 54.43 per 100,000 people. Blacks aged 10-24 years did not fare well either at 4,347 killed or 48.80 per 100,000. By comparison, white people came in at 1,918 or 3.91 per 100,000 in the older group and 653 or 1.97 per 100,000 in the younger bracket.
Clearly, black on black violence is a huge problem that is not being addressed or focused on by the media or political leaders. On the heels of the media coverage and President Biden’s repeated mass shooting comments to ban guns following the terrible mass shootings at the Wal-Mart in Virginia leaving six people dead and five people dead three days earlier in a shooting rampage at a nightclub in Colorado, there were 31 people shot and 6 killed across Chicago the following Thanksgiving weekend. These combined shootings amount to mass shootings taking place every weekend in dystopian-like enclaves in Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, and New York to name a few. Where is the media coverage and why are these predominately black neighborhoods allowed to fall into tyranny?
To make the case for Republican bipartisanship support to work towards reducing guns in the wrong hands, the Democrats will need to reciprocate on the most glaring killer facing America. According to the CDC, fentanyl is now the leading cause of death among US adults (ages 18-45); more than Covid-19. Fentanyl, the cheap to produce and easy to transport killer that is 100 times stronger than morphine, has seen deaths nearly double in two years from 32,754 in 2019 to 64,178 in 2021.
The cartels in Mexico producing the candy-colored drug in super labs purchase the ingredients and chemicals from China. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) say they are combating the problem; however, their actions are profoundly incompetent with the substance crossing a porous border with Mexico. It is unconscionable that the Biden Administration does not use every tool to pressure China to stop the exports to the cartels and it is a crime by China who can lock down a population of over a billion people over Covid yet fail to prevent these shipments. China is an accomplice to mass killings in the US.
According to the FAA, there is an average of 64.4 passengers per domestic flights in the US. The number of fentanyl deaths would be equivalent to three passenger aircraft going down with all onboard perishing in the crash. Would American politicians not call for the immediate grounding of all flights until there were assurances that no further loss of life was at peril. Should the human mules coming across the southern border not also be halted with the same sense of urgency to save over 190 lives every day from fentanyl?
No one person has the answers to nation-wide epidemics of gun violence and the fentanyl crisis. First, it begins with leadership to turn off what seems to be an incurable pathology to assign blame. The unfounded white supremacy is divisive rhetoric while claiming the 2nd Amendment to bear arms is at risk. It is simply untrue. Progress will have a greater chance of success if the small but loud voices are sidelined, contributions from influential lobbies are refused, and the media covers the big picture.
Politician can no longer wait to act on the comprehensive measures. Just ask black Americans if they want to defund police and see active enforcement and protection in their neighborhoods. There needs to be a focus on cultural and social factors, guidance counseling and education that focuses on responsibility in the family and community. Gun shops need to uphold current laws when selling firearms, and gun ownership should require at minimum to attend and pass a course on firearm safety that could prevent a deranged shooter from purchasing a gun prior to carrying out a mass shooting. Finally, if the Mexico government is not going to do the job, the DEA needs to forcibly remove fentanyl super labs making the killer poison. Time to get to work.
Joe Vogler and the Alaskan Independence Party: The Last Secession Attempt in the United States
The political system in the U.S is characterized by a bipolar system of division between the Democratic and the Republican Party. As a result, independent parties are hardly noticed and barely manage to scrap votes in the elections. However, independent parties in the U.S have been around since the creation of the nation and some of their leaders have gone as far as pursuing to secede from the federal government of the U.S. Joe Vogler was an Alaskan politician that rallied a major nationalistic movement in Alaska for the state to secede from the U.S. Although his actions did not bear any fruits, his creation of the Alaskan Independence Party opened the door to interesting questions and political theories. Is it possible for an independent party to hold major power in the U.S, and how much influence do the independent parties have in one of the most politically divided countries in the world?
Joe Vogler: An Alaskan nationalist from Kansas
Joe Vogler was born on April 24, 1913, in Kansas, U.S. In 1942, he moved to Alaska where he worked as a civilian employee of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers in Fairbanks. Although he graduated with a law degree from the University of Kansas, his move to Alaska demonstrated his humble beginnings and love for a more traditional lifestyle away from the metropolises of America. Besides working construction in military bases, Vogler was involved in the development of real estate and mining in Alaska.
Described by his admirers as a stand-up, no-nonsense man, Vogler started his early nationalist views of an independent Alaska in the early 1970s, where he frequently wrote letters to editors in newspapers, calling for Alaska to secede from the federal government of the U.S. In 1973, he founded the Alaskans for Independence organization to label his petition drive to secede from America. In 1984, he founded the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), which he led for almost a decade until his sudden disappearance and death in 1993.
The Alaskan Independence Party: Libertarian conservatism at its finest
The Alaskan Independence Party (AIP) gained momentum in the early 1980s when Joe Vogler founded the party with a clear focus on the independence of Alaska from the United States. The ideology of the party is a mix of Alaskan nationalism and libertarian conservatism. It is easy to see where Alaskan nationalism comes from and why it was advocated. As one of the largest states in the U.S, Alaska has immense mineral and oil wealth, with the oil and gas industries being the largest component in the state. Almost 85% of the state budget is supplied by oil revenues. Not to mention that Alaska has an important geopolitical position, being isolated from the continental U.S and sharing a maritime border with the Russian Federation.
The position of Alaska on the world map is a very strategic one and a major advantage in trading, fishing, and mining. Marie Francis, a writer from Southcentral Alaska and a registered member of AIP shares the same views as many Alaskans who advocate for the independence of their state. In her own words as posted in the Anchorage Daily News she describes how beneficial would be the actual secession of Alaska for the people that live there, who many times feel abandoned by the federal government due to their small population. “As the U.S. engages in trade wars, an independent Alaska would make international trade agreements on our terms. Our geographic position at the top of the Pacific grants us access to Asian and North American markets, and as Arctic shipping lanes open in the decades to come, European markets. Currently, we are relegated to the position of a dejected American outpost, yet almost all air cargo being transported between the United States and Asia flows through Ted Stevens Intl. Airport. Alaska’s economic potential is much greater than what the U.S. allows” (Anchorage Daily News, Marie Francis).
The last sentence by Marie Francis reveals the nature of the U.S government taking full advantage of the position and natural resources of Alaska while at the same time disregarding the voices of the Alaskan population simply because of their low population compared to the other 49 states of America. When people of a particular geographical area feel isolated from their government in a metaphorical and literal sense and find unity under the same cause, isn’t that a classic recipe for a nationalistic independence movement?
Regarding the philosophical ideology of the party, we can see many similarities with other political parties in the U.S, like the Libertarian Party and the Republican Party. The primary ideology is based on traditional American values such as the right to bear arms, privatization away from the sphere of public sectors, and of course limited government interference. These particular American values are mixed with a libertarian conservatism philosophy that advocates among many things, the maximum economic liberty for the people, combined with the minimum government regulation of economic and social life. Although on many occasions this political and social philosophy is mirroring classical liberalism, what distinguishes it is the focus on American values and a sense of morality and duty toward the idea of free and independent people from any form of government regulations.
Margaret Randall, an American writer and academic describes the notion of libertarian conservatism as an expression of personal freedom and individualism, the same ideology that can be found in the early works of Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau was an American naturalist and philosopher, mostly known for his advocation of individualism and limitation of the power that the American government had at that time. His book Civil Disobedience (1849), argues that any form of progress comes from the ingenuity of the people not from the government, and as a result, the best thing for any government to do is to let the people govern themselves and flourish. He concludes that the best government is one that does not govern at all. It is easy to connect the ideological position of the AIP with the notion of Alaskan nationalism, as both the ideology and the practical implementation of its positions reveal a mix of liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, naturalism, and a strong apathy for any form of government that wishes to control the individuality of its local population.
Joe Vogler’s controversial views and sudden disappearance
Joe Vogler made a couple of unsuccessful bids for public office, with the first one being back in 1974, when he ran for governor of Alaska, only to lose by a large margin to Jay Hammond who represented the Republican Party. After that, in 1978, he tried to run as a lieutenant governor alongside Don Wright, only to lose again to Jay Hammond. He made two last attempts to run as a governor in 1982 and 1986, but his efforts did not result in a positive outcome. Although none of his efforts resulted in a victory, Vogler still had quite a few thousand supporters that rallied behind his nationalistic cause. His libertarian rhetoric appealed to many Alaskans that felt that indeed they are being exploited and overlooked by the U.S government. He was extremely un-American in a political sense and a harsh critic of all the government institutions that he felt had no place in the state that he envisioned.
On May 30, 1993, Joe Vogler suddenly disappeared, just a couple of weeks before he addressed the United Nations on the issue of Alaskan independence. A close friend called the authorities after not hearing from him for a couple of days. An investigation took place to find him. After a couple of months of unsuccessful attempts to find Vogler, a man called the authorities informing them that a suspicious truck with a bullet hole at the back was seen at Fairbanks at the same time that Vogler disappeared. The man driving the truck was identified and was taken into custody. Manfried West immediately confessed to the murder of Joe Vogler. He claimed that Vogler wanted to buy plastic explosives from him, and when the deal went wrong he shot Vogler and buried him. After almost a year, an anonymous tip revealed the location of Vogler’s body. He was buried in a shallow grave outside Fairbanks. West was convicted of 80 years of prison time and currently serves his time at the Palmer Correctional Facility in Sutton.
Joe Vogler’s sudden disappearance and murder did not sit well with a lot of people affiliated with AIP, who felt that his death was an execution and that Manfried West was hired to do the job. These speculations seem to fit the narrative that Vogler’s death was not just a deal that went wrong. It is important to mention that Vogler managed to gain the support of Iran to sponsor his speech at the U.N. At that time, relations between the two states had deteriorated right after the Persian Gulf War when Iran was accused of trying to replace Iraq as the most dominant power in the Gulf. By 1992, under the Bush Administration, Congress had passed the Iran-Iraq Nonproliferation Act, sanctioning specific materials that could be used for the development of advanced weaponry. As a result, Iran’s support to Joe Vogler would have been an embarrassment for the U.S if he managed to speak at the podium at the U.N.
In addition, Vogler, throughout his political career had made a lot of enemies and powerful people back in Washington D.C did not see his intentions as just an effort to secede from the U.S. By the time his political career started, the Cold War was still at its peak and the competition with the Soviet Union was the most serious matter that affected the whole globe. Vogler was accused by many, of being a socialist, and people in D.C were worried that his views may find support back in Moscow, who could seek to find an opportunity to have closer relations with an independent Alaska. We might never find the truth about Vogler’s death and the people responsible for it, but we can only speculate that powerful people in the political arena of the U.S would not have been happy if Vogler was allowed to speak at the United Nations.
The Alaskan Independence Party today and the future of independent parties in the U.S
Although Joe Vogler himself was unsuccessful in holding a public office in Alaska, that doesn’t mean that the AIP was also unsuccessful. In 1990, as Vogler was serving as a chair to the party, he supported Wally Hickel, a businessman and a member of the AIP who managed to get elected as the governor of Alaska on the Independence Party ticket, making the AIP one of the few third parties that had managed to hold public office in the U.S. However, after the death of Vogler, the party lost some of its power and will to continue fighting for an independent Alaska.
Today the Alaskan Independence Party remains the third most powerful party in the state of Alaska. According to its official website, AIP now has almost 19.000 registered members, nearly 25% of the size of the Democratic Party in Alaska. Remaining true to their goals until this day, members of AIP continue to challenge the authorities in D.C and demand that their voices be heard. As Marie Francis mentions in her opinion piece for the Anchorage Daily News: “We are receiving fewer favors from the federal government, and I firmly believe an independent Alaskan government would manage a better budget that would provide for all. As civil welfare programs are cut, the federal defense budget has been fluffed. We are being exploited by a government thousands of miles away for military purposes. The dignity of autonomy is not granted to more than 700,000 people. Secession would grant Alaskans the freedom to determine their destiny without federal oversight. I encourage my fellow Alaskans to discuss the endless possibilities and consider the Alaskan Independence Party”.
Independent political parties in the U.S have a long history of engagement in U.S politics. Although they are not always successful their presence is still visible in local and nationwide elections. Apart from the Alaskan Independence Party, other political parties across the U.S have made their presence calling for independence or greater autonomy. For example, there is the Independent Party Of Delaware, the third largest party in the state with almost 10.000 people registered with it. Also, the Aloha ʻĀina Party in Hawaii advocates for the independence of Hawaii from the U.S and a greater focus on traditional Hawaiian cultural values. The list goes on and on with political parties and movements across the U.S, in California, Texas, Florida, Vermont, Montana, Minnesota, etc.
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly four-in-ten U.S. adults (38%) identify as politically independent, but most “lean” toward one of the two major parties. This goes to show that although the presence of third parties is still active, people are not very keen on voting for them. Is it because their stance on certain issues is not appealing, or is it because the media is so focused on dividing the country between red and blue that any chance of reviewing or analyzing any other party’s position would be immediately suppressed? Joe Vogler used to say the same phrase whenever asked about his ideological stance: “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions”. How possible would it be for more politicians to come out and say I am a Californian, not an American, or I am a Texan and I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions?
In politics nothing is unlikely and the possibility of these movements gaining more recognition and support may come sooner than we expect. With the incompetence of Joe Biden and the Democratic Party and the controversy around Donald Trump and the Republican Party, people in the U.S may realize that they need to look elsewhere for solutions. Maybe they will realize that the democratic system that they so much praise and demonstrate around the world, is just a fallacy of democracy with two parties representing the same goals with different colors.
Canada’s Indo Pacific strategy
Canada’s Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly released the North American country’s vision for the Indo-Pacific on November 27, 2022. Canada’s Indo Pacific strategy is 26 pages in length, and it has earmarked Canadian $ 2.6 billion (US $ 1.9 billion) for funding in the Indo-Pacific region. Through the strategy, Canada seeks to play its role of promoting peace and security in the Indo Pacific region by; investing in security and intelligence networks and cybersecurity infrastructure in the Indo Pacific, strengthening Canada’s trade with the region, building natural resource linkages between Canada and Indo-Pacific countries and to strengthen people to people links between Canadian citizens and those of Indo-Pacific countries.
The Canadian Foreign Minister, while unveiling the strategy highlighted the economic importance of the Indo-Pacific region while also stating that:
“Every issue that matters to Canadians, our national security, our economic prosperity, democratic values, climate change or again human rights will be shaped by the relationship Canada has with Indo-Pacific countries.”
The strategy lays immense emphasis on enhancing trade ties with India, East Asia and Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. To achieve the objective of greater trade with the region, Canada will appoint an Indo-Pacific trade representative (the vision also seeks to set up Canada’s first agricultural office in the region with the aim of increasing agricultural exports to the region). In comparison to the vision of other western countries and Australia, there is a strong thrust in Canada’s Indo Pacific strategy on giving a boost to people-to-people linkages with the region. It would be pertinent to point out, that Canada is home to not just a large Indian expat community, but that Indian nationals account for the largest group within the international community (this point has been flagged in Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy as well)
While Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy cannot be linked to any one factor, but there is no doubt, that one of the key factors for Canada to focus on the Indo-Pacific is to reduce economic dependence upon China, and also find common ground with other countries becoming increasingly vary of Chinese expansionism. The 26page document released by Canada dubbed China a ‘disruptive power’, while also arguing that China seeks to ‘disregard’ norms and values by which it has risen. Says the strategy:
“China is looking to shape the international order into a more permissive environment for interests and values that increasingly depart from ours.”
In recent years, like many other western countries, Canada’s ties with China have gone downhill. Tensions began to emerge after Canadian police detained Meng Wanzhou Chief Financial officer of Huawei in 2018, while China retaliated by arresting two Canadian nationals of spying (all three individuals were released last year). In 2020, Canada had also shelved its trade deal with China. Then Canadian Foreign Minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne while commenting on differences with China had said:
“I do not see the conditions being present now for these discussions to continue at this time. The China of 2020 is not the China of 2016”.
Recently, Ottawa has also accused China of interfering in the domestic politics of Canada. Canada accuses China of providing financial support to 11 candidates in the North American nation’s federal elections of 2019. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau had raised this issue with Xi Jinping during his meeting with the latter on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at Bali last month. Chinese President Xi Jinping had expressed his displeasure with Trudeau of leaking details of the meeting to the media.
Canada’s Indo Pacific strategy also seeks to prevent Chinese investments in areas linked to ‘national security’. The 26 page document stated that Canada would come up with legislation which would enable it to act:
‘decisively when investments from state-owned enterprises and other foreign entities threaten our national security including our critical mineral supply chains’
Canada had recently asked three Chinese companies to divest from the country’s mining companies citing security reasons.
The Canadian Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly said that while the strategy sought to safeguard Canada’s interest it was pragmatic. The strategy does refer to the need for cooperation with China on issues such as climate change, global health and nuclear proliferation. In conclusion, Canada’s Indo Pacific strategy while focusing on economics, has a clear security component. Canada like the US, UK and Australia recognizes the need to reduce economic dependence upon China, and to keep a close watch on Beijing’s interference in Canada’s domestic affairs. The meeting between US President, Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the side-lines of the G20 Summit as well as Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy do reiterate, that in spite of all the differences with China, western countries will seek to avoid the emergence of a ‘new cold war’ with China and to engage on issues such as climate change.
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