Before we begin, you might be wondering where I stand on the issue. I understand the need for it, but I also understand its concerns. To say it is right or it is wrong will mean that I have the answers. I do not. I neither promote nor condemn it, because it is not a black and white issue with clear cut answers. I could think of ways to reduce its usage and make everyone happy in the process, but it’s not that easy. Every one of us should deeply think about its place in today’s warfare and come up with at least a little bit of understanding on its usage. My article seeks to do that by expounding on its use in today’s global political climate.
In the light UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ review of American Military’s usage of Drone strikes, I think it’s apt to understand why modern warfare has changed. The inquiry was sponsored by Russia, China and Pakistan.
In my opinion, the 2003 invasion of Iraq will be the last time we will see a “traditional war”. Even though Russia, Pakistan and China have launched the anti-American policy inquiry, we will never go to war with them. Iran and North Korea are the only two countries on earth that are still remaining in our “Axis of Evil” list created by President George W. Bush. Despite the war cries from the likes of Sen. John McCain, there won’t be an Iran invasion partly due to the realization of drain on the economic health of a country, but mostly due to globalization. In the past 30 years, the world has become more open due to commerce, diplomatic efforts and citizen journalism. The last bastion of dictators has been wiped from South America, Eastern Europe and now Middle East, which always hosted some of the most ruthless rulers in modern history. Apartheid has failed. The walls have been shattered, revolutions have sprung, democracies incubated and voices heard. This era of transformations will continue our Global Village Project forward.
Moving forward, the greatest challenge the west faces is not sovereign countries, but non-state actors. Though there is always the possibility that a fringe group could successfully attempt a coup d’etat on a country like Russia or Pakistan and start a traditional war, the likelihood of that happening has been shrinking due to shared intel and joint operations between countries. Now I’m not saying that we will never ever see a large-scale war. We will, at some point in time. But it will be something like Operation Allied Force or more recently, Operation Unified Protector.
This week, Mitch McConnell declared the “era of liberalism is back” in response to President Obama’s Inaugural Speech on Monday. Conservatives in the media and online have gone ballistic over the speech; one that they claim is overly partisan and mixed with a highly liberal agenda. But is this actually true?
Well, Obama’s speech didn’t talk much about the fiscal issues of the day and really seemed to focus on a much more social agenda. These issues seemed to be focused on the rights of gays, climate change, immigration, and even a small nod to guns control. And you know what? Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are right to say that this was a very liberal speech.
When you’re dealing with a master of sleight of hand, even the simplest activity may be a complex deception. To understand the complexity of a magician’s life, according to Penn in this video, you need to know the seven basic principles of magic.
Palm – To hold an object with an apparently empty hand
Ditch – To secretly dispose of an unneeded object
Steal – To secretly obtain a needed object
Loan – Secretly move the needed object to where its needed
Simulation – To give the impression that something that hasn’t happened has
Misdirection – Lead attention away from the secret move
Switch – Secretly exchange one object for another
Those are the seven principles of magic, and with them you can do wondrous things. Now, what if I told you they could not only be applied to magic, but also to negotiating? When the new year rolled around, quite like magic, we witnessed a party begrudgingly going along with something they clearly didn’t want to. They enacted what was, while technically speaking a tax cut, in essence a tax raise in their minds with almost nothing in return for it. This was the same party refusing beforehand to vote on “what we all agree on,” as Obama put it. This was the party of no.
So, how did Obama perform this trickery? Like a well-trained magician, he had to know his audience. The audience in this act was threefold. One piece of this audience, the Republicans would always look to attack him on nearly anything and everything. Again, they’re the party of no. So, going into this he knew it would be no. No compromise. Nothing. Like the magician that must be keenly aware of what and where his audience will be watching and questioning, Obama had to know this. He had to finally understand this. Another of his audiences, the media, would always try and see things from the middle, and they’re obsessed with very serious people, as Paul Krugman puts them, and as such a push for a grand bargain that has tax raises and spending cuts would be just the sort of thing they could get their panties wet for. And last, he had to know us. That is, he had to know both the liberal and the republican base.
Next, quite like Teller, he used a bit of sleight of hand. Like the magician about to saw a lady in half, he stood atop the stage during his campaigning and proclaimed, “I will raise taxes on those making above $250,000 per year.” And, despite how popular this plan was, we all didn’t really know how it could be done with the Republicans likely still having control of the house. Their pledges to Grover Norquist make this feat about as hard as making an elephant disappear before your very eyes.
While many political nerds will spend the day glued to their televisions watching the day’s proceedings unfold, many are wondering just what will be the defining issues of this second term. Historians are quick to note that second term Presidents are known to attempt for an overreach in power and many also face scandals of various sorts. Eisenhower saw his party get beaten pretty badly during his second term. Clinton saw an impeachment scandal. George W. Bush botched a disaster response and presided over the greatest economic calamity in nearly a century. Though despite this, Albert R. Hunt of the New York Times writes that President Obama is very much aware of these events and the other types of issues that second-termers face. To me, this is just another piece of evidence that President Obama wants to be remembered as more than the first African American President; he wants the first African American Presidency to be a good one in the history books.
The question that many observers are asking is; what can we expect from a second Obama Administration?
Who doesn’t love Saturday Morning Cartoons? No one, that’s who! Well, as adults we’ve grown out of what we’d normally be watching Saturday Mornings (Recess, anyone? … anyone?), but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a nice political cartoon!
I chose this one, because it seems to be the prevailing critique of the day from both the media and the right, partially in response to this picture. Obama has nominated a few white guys as of late. He’s put forward Chuck Hagel, a nice white Nebraskan man, and the boring New England politician caricature John Kerry for Secretary of State. Pretty white there, too. There’s also the squiggly signatured Jack Lew, put forward as Treasury Secretary.