Sunday, November 15, 2015

No Cogent Foreign Policy in Europe nor the US? For that I blame #Bush, #Clinton, #Obama, & all of #NATO

Even as Paris continues to mourn, the West should take immediate steps to protect the values that our democracies hold dear. Failure to do so could quickly lead to much of western Europe and perhaps also the cities of America living as police states, with barricades and checkpoints at every turn. All too quickly, liberty, equality, and fraternity can be replaced by racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance.

Troops Around the Tower: Will this become a familiar scene?
Image credit:
If the terrorists have their way, then the very people who continue to pay the highest price for extremism will be treated as extremists themselves... and the West will quickly lose what few allies we have left in the conflicting region. Yes, we in the west have lost many innocents, but let's remember that entire villages, towns and cities have been swallowed up by these extremists. ISIS has been busy murdering thousands of people every month... for years. And so now we notice?

Pope Francis just implied that the events in Paris may be part of the third world war; I fear that he is quite correct. This multi-year reluctance of Europe and the US to take a clear, principled, and firm stand against extremists and their sponsors endangers us all. Does NATO even exist any more? Is its purpose simply to issue press releases...?

Leadership has been entirely absent in the US and Europe, as the threat has grown. Here in the US, our President referred to the extremists as a "JV" squad, implying that they weren't to be taken as seriously as Al Qaeda. He then asserted that the US doesn't do "pin pricks" - but that's precisely what the foreign policy has been ... from the Bush years and right through to the present.

The US has been conducting our foreign policy by remote control, trying to take little stabs at a multi-tentacled international operation. The assumption has been that the side with the best technology wins. Uh... no. We should all know by now what a box cutter can do. We should all know by now that lone wolves look like every one of us from a distance. The architects of this high-altitude foreign policy need to go... and now. It is utterly outrageous to me that anyone associated with these massive foreign policy and ground intel failures -Bush(es), Clinton(s), Biden- could actually win Election 2016. They have set us up for generations of conflict... and should be retired to hone their apologies.

Europe, you have yet again failed to protect yourselves from conflict at your doorstep. Behold the irony: high-minded talk about preventing chemical atrocities in Syria and beyond. But then when the path gets the slightest bit tough, what is the strategy? Look to the US to do the dirty work- at a time when most American could care less. And so now Europe faces an unending flow of refugees. And yes, these refugees look different from you; they speak differently; they think differently... and will become posters for your rightmost radicals. Thus you have created a safe haven abroad for extremists, and safe havens within your own borders for Le Pen and similar nazis. The price you will pay will be counted in generations living with fear and hatred.

So... what is our part, then? What are we individuals to do when our trusted governments have so thoroughly failed? Can we at least agree to hold our leaders to account, and demand that the next elections be about competent policy? Why would we turn back to the leaders that didn't lead, so many times before?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

August #missile outrage over #Egypt: passengers at risk, but not told

Just let this sink in.

Sky News and The Guardian are now reporting that this past August, an Egyptian military missile passed within 1000 ft of a British jet carrying 189 passengers over Egypt.

That is a hair's width, at flight speeds.

And to make matters far worse: apparently, the UK Department of Transport knew about and investigated the incident... but somehow didn't publicly divulge the details. Shouldn't this have been front-page news, and a clear warning to all travelers throughout the region?

Question abound: Why wasn't the airspace immediately declared off-limits to British (and indeed all) commercial traffic? How can this airspace be considered safe... by anyone? Why weren't passengers alerted to the risks?

My feeling is that this is a complete outrage, and would be an outrage even if the Russian passenger jet hadn't recently been downed over Egypt. The fact of the matter is that the region's airspace and associated airports are (and were) known to be unsafe. Yet governments let their citizens travel...

This advisory failure seems just short of treasonous; any government's most fundamental responsibility is to protect its citizens. This isn't just negligence, it is a coverup and complete betrayal of public trust.

Here is the original Sky News story: