Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Foreign Policy News in late September 2015

The historic 70th annual United Nations General Assembly includes speeches from President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Cuban President Raul Castro, and other human beings. The meeting between Obama and Putin was historic since it was the first time that they had an extensive meeting on foreign policy since 2013. Each has agreements and disagreements on many issues. President Barack Obama’s foreign policies have been so reactionary that he has no other option, but to talk with Putin in order to find the resolution to the Syrian civil war crisis. This situation is complicated. We know that the Washington wars of aggression and military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, etc. have failed to establish a more cohesive stabilized Middle East, Asia, Horn of Africa, etc. These interventions overtly violate international law and contradict the essence of peaceful diplomacy. Now, Putin has spoken about supporting the separatists in Ukraine and wanting the regime of Bashar al-Assad to stay. Putin has been portrayed by the neo-cons and others as an international outlaw and a threat at to world peace. The truth is that Putin is not perfect, but his foreign policy positions are vastly more reasonable than the neo-conservatives. Putin told the truth that interventions in the Middle East have caused the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (or ISIS) to grow their terrorism in the region. The President has said that he wants to talks with Russia and Iran (which is a Russian ally) in order to resolve issues. The Presidency of the Obama administration now wants a transitional period before Assad is removed in an “orderly” fashion. The war monger General John Allen is soon to resign. Other neo-conservatives like John McCain want the President to be even more aggressive in the Middle East. Of the forces thus far trained by the US, some were wiped out by the Al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front as soon as they entered Syria, others defected to anti-Assad Islamist militias, and still others turned over their weapons in exchange for safe passage.

Russia has sent its military support for Assad. They have reportedly setting up a new air base in northwestern Syria, the traditional stronghold of Assad’s Alawite Shiite regime, a development Washington has been unable to block. And on the eve of Obama’s speech to the UN, the US-backed Iraqi government announced that it had signed an intelligence-sharing agreement with Syria, Iran and Russia, evidently without the prior knowledge of the US government. An Iraqi government official said Monday that Baghdad would welcome Russian surveillance flights over the country. The West wants Syria to be rid of Assad in order to spread a pro-Saudi hegemony. Saudi Arabia wants Assad gone to promote its interests and Assad is a Shia person (while the Saudi leadership is Sunni). The Western instigated sectarian civil war in Syria has caused massive amounts of refugees to leve Syria and come into Europe, etc. The U.S. wars in the Middle East exist in order for the West to gain the region’s energy resources, to promote American hegemony in the region, and to counteract the political moves made by Russia including China (which are both nuclear powers). Essentially the same jihadist terrorist forces that constitute ISIS were financed and armed by the CIA, Washington’s Sunni Gulf allies (Saudi Arabia, Qatar) and Turkey to serve as proxy forces in the overthrow and murder of the secular Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, as well as in the war for regime change against the secular regime in Syria. Iran, (which has been called an evil empire by the neo-cons), is today a potential asset of US imperialism in the region. The US is backing a Shiite sectarian regime in Iraq that is aligned with Iran, even as it collaborates with Sunni Saudi Arabia in waging war in Yemen and the effort to topple the Shiite Assad regime in Syria. These are all contradictions and it shows the complexities of the war on terror. These wars have caused chaos and most Americans don’t want more massive wars in the Middle East. The reactionary Republicans like John McCain, Rubio, etc. are trying to pressure the White House to be more hawkish. We see NATO still showing an aggressive posture towards Russia. NATO supports military war games near Russian territories along eastern European countries.

There should be a change in current system. There has been the overt ruination of lives as a product of the prison industrial complex. Angela Davis and the late George Jackson have told the truth on this issue. Prisons are readily privatized for profit. Many prisoners are nonviolent drug offenders and their voting rights and economic opportunities are readily stripped. Some nonviolent drug offenders serve longer sentences than assaulters and rapists, which is a disgrace. People from across the political spectrum know that minimum sentencing laws and other regressive policies are just retrograde and wrong. The documentary is accurate to talk about the crack and cocaine sentencing disparities (which grew from the 1980's to the present). Fixing this problem will cause more economic stability in the lives of Americans too. America imprisons the highest number of people in the industrialized world. We know about the racism found in the criminal injustice system too. The system is backward. Prisons are readily overcrowded and we can’t follow the status quo at all. There should be investments in drug courts and the elimination of the War on Drugs with progressive alternatives. Timbuktu and Napata weren't built in a day, so our liberation will take hard work, struggle, and determination. We certainly need more unity as the truth is that unity creates power. Back in 1972, black people tried to use the Gary Convention as a means to create a political platform for our people. In our generation, we should develop a political platform too and pool our resources (as other ethnic groups have done for generations). We have to confront poverty and economic inequality as well.

The documentary (from BET called "Who Got the Juice?") does look interesting. There are many stories to describe the OJ Simpson situation. First, the trial was controversial. Every day, there were stories about it when I was in middle school. When the verdict came about, I was in my 7th grade classroom. The defense team included extremely talented people like Johnnie Cochran (who defended many people. Also, he tried to bring up a trial to fight for reparations for black people. RIP Brother Johnnie Cochran). They showed the verdict throughout the school where I was in. When the verdict was read, all of the black kids in my classroom cheered, so there was disagreement about whether he was guilty or not. Many people ignore or downplay the injustices that black people go through and that's a shame. Back then, I thought that he was innocent. Today, I don’t know if he is innocent or guilty of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. I’m agnostic on his guilt or innocence today. This was before we knew the real OJ Simpson. The real OJ Simpson committed adultery against his first beautiful wife Sister Marguerite L. Whitley. The real OJ Simpson suffered racism all of his life, but expressed self-hatred instead of truly fighting back against the evils of racism/white supremacy (in a comprehensively way. At one time, many members of society loved him a great deal). After the trial, he made even more mistakes out of his own doing. He is in prison now, because of his reckless behavior. The most important thing to know about OJ Simpson is that his story is a lesson. It’s a lesson that self-hatred is never the answer and self-hatred including reckless, bad actions can cause bad Karma literally as exemplified in the tragic story of OJ Simpson. We know that the criminal injustice system historically has been unfair towards black people, the poor, other minorities, etc. We know that we must fight racism, economic oppression, and discrimination. Also, it is true that there is no excuse for murder, domestic violence, self-hatred, or other evils in our society. So, this controversy should educate us and motivate us into being better human beings and to stand up against any injustice.

I’m not shocked at Cameron’s comments (about telling Jamaicans to move beyond discussing about reparations). Cameron has promoted anti-civil liberty policies in the United Kingdom and has executed war mongering policies overseas (like supporting extrajudicial assassinations of British citizens overseas). People, from the Caribbean and from the USA, have supported reparations for years. Jewish people received reparations after the Holocaust. Japanese Americans received reparations during the 1980’s via the action of Ronald Reagan. Native Americans received reparations centuries after the massive genocide of Native human beings by white racist terrorists. We know that slavery and colonialism of the Caribbean, in the Americas, etc. existed for a long time. The mentality of neo-colonialism and paternalism (as shown by David Cameron, which is typical of an UK Conservative administration) hasn’t ended in the 1960’s. It continues today. Therefore, people have every right to call for reparations, especially since our black ancestors suffered the worst forms of slavery in human history (our ancestors were kidnapped, raped, and sent to multiple continents worldwide over the course of centuries). The Maafa involved multiple European countries. Our ancestors were stripped of their language, religion, culture, economics, and in many cases, families were broken up. We, as members of the African Diaspora, will stand up for the truth.

By Timothy

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