S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Other Nations Today -- the battles unfold

The world is watching as two very different kinds of competitions, violent and non-violent. In violent competition, also known as war, each side tries to kill its opponents. In non-violent competition, also known as sports, opponents try to win all the contests against the other side, without killing them. Proponents of sports and war both claim heroism and honor as results. Similarly in violent and non-violent competition, people win applause, medals and glory. In violent competition, however the acclaim is for killing the enemy, holding territory that the combatant did not own, and gaining control over the way the reality of the vanquished is described to the outside world. In non-violent competition, admiration is forthcoming for winning against the opponents, controlling the field of play, and gaining bragging rights with the folks back home. As might be apparent, I am not much of a sports fan, and I am deeply disturbed by our species' proclivity for war.

A war between Russia and Georgia has occurred and a tremendous number of people died as a result. It seems that the U.S. is on the side of Georgia for whatever reason. According to The Financial Times, the situation appears to be quite serious. It always is when one side claims power over the other, concluding that the other side is not fit to live where they do. To quote the FT story:

The crisis could bring Moscow into confrontation with Washington, which backs Georgia.

Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, said: “The United States calls for an immediate ceasefire to the armed conflict in Georgia’s region of South Ossetia. We call on Russia to cease attacks on Georgia by aircraft and missiles, respect Georgia’s territorial integrity, and withdraw its ground combat forces from Georgian soil.”

In Beijing, US president George W. Bush and Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, both attending the Olympics opening ceremony, discussed the situation.

These days the competition between the Chinese and others is generally not life threatening, except perhaps for athletic health reasons. Some are having difficulty breathing the bad air. The Financial Times' in-depth story begins with the geopolitical aspects. To quote:

China pulled off a diplomatic triumph on Friday, turning the Olympic opening ceremony from the low-key political event it has traditionally been into a spectacular visual display attended by a roll call of world leaders.

Underlining China’s growing global presence, more than 50 presidents and prime ministers attended the lavishly choreographed ceremony in Beijing’s “bird’s nest” stadium. They included George W. Bush, the first US president to attend an opening ceremony outside the United States, Russia’s prime minister Vladimir Putin and Japan’s prime minister Yasuo Fukuda.

*"Beijing 2008: Are You Ready for McCommunism?" was the headline posted on Aug 7, 2008. from Truthdig *betmo asks, "If china is hybridizing communism and capitalism courtesy of America- what are we getting out of the deal? At least at this point the competition between the U.S. and China is almost wholly non-violent, a very good thing.

*Victory for Developing Nations! WTO Talks Collapsed a couple of weeks ago (7/31/08), is posted at AfterDowningStreet. Global competition for food is also very serious business. And it is a possible cause for war in areas where there is not enough to go around. Wouldn't it be so much better if the developed nations fought for upholding the rights of starving people to food? World trade is not a guarantee that have-not nations will benefit. To quote:

Developing nations stood up to the U.S. and E.U. in this week's WTO Doha Negotiations, refusing to sacrifice food security measures in the midst of the global spike in food prices. Around the world nations are questioning the development gains from trade liberalization.

*U.S. Africa Aid Is Increasingly Military(7/18/08)." As I have said before the military is about fighting to win, even if it means killing. War may be an efficient method for imposing one's will over the other. But is it the only way? And why appropriate funds to the military for what is supposed to be done in the name of peace and fighting for the rights of others? To quote:

U.S. aid to Africa is becoming increasingly militarized, resulting in skewed priorities and less attention to longer-term development projects that could lead to greater stability across the continent, according to a report released Thursday by the advocacy group Refugees International.

The report warns that the planned U.S. Africa Command, designed to boost America’s image and prevent terrorism, is allowing the Defense Department to usurp funds traditionally directed by the State Department and U.S. aid agencies.

. . . Africom in part aims to better integrate U.S. efforts in Africa by coordinating military activities with the State Department and other agencies, but “the State Department is being overwhelmed by the Pentagon,” Malan said.

That concern was also raised in a Government Accountability Office report on Africom released this week. The report noted that Africom, which is to have about 1,300 employees, has had difficulty integrating 13 staff members from the State Department and other agencies.

In China the Olympics could not have happened under Mao. Going against Mao could get one killed. But today we pick our battles. China won the right to be where GE manufactures its compact fluorescent light bulbs. Our workers lose; do the Chinese workers win? Putin is up and then Putin is down. "Win some, lose some," he might say, but he has not said that at all. Putin or Medvedev -- or both -- are in the mood for war/winning. Into whose eyes can Mr. Bush look now? What a mess!

*Hat tip to "betmo" for several of the above links.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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betmo said...

america has been courting the balkans and that whole region by russia for quite awhile-- let me go find a link if i can...

'Under the terms of an agreement reached with the US in July 2006, Kyrgyzstan receives $150 million in annual fees and other assistance for allowing the US Air Force to use the Manas base.'

you get the idea

Carol Gee said...

Thanks, betmo. This is very helpful. It gets more and more murky by the day. It sure will be nice when the pros come back into the White House.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

First, I don't believe in talking about you behind your back, so I left this comment about you elsewhere:
The Future Was Yesterday said...

After reading the link, I can only say once again that Carol is the best, and most consistent, educational writer I've ever read since I've been blogging. But her efforts go largely into thin air as the shallow sheeple go chasing for the latest...."What did Elizabeth know and when did she know it?........."

There are at least two reasons why Carol will probably never have a large readership:
1): She writes stuff that's not on Olbermann so 90% are clueless what she's talking about, and
2): what she writes requires real thinking, so that eliminates 90% of possible readers.....

I apologize for the wildly off track rant, but sometimes, this "comment" bullshit really pisses me off!

What the hell was your post about again?:)
To address this post:
I worry about ever being able to predict Bush. I really do, because if I'm ever right, that means I'm ready for the loony tunes bin!! But I don't think Betmo was far from the mark. Given Bush's favorite bedtime story, The Gipper and his so insightful[sic] "The Evil Empire" about Soviet/American relations, and the prospect of some major league oil, and God only knows what the First Moron is capable of, and I don't think God really gives a damn. Apathy was our #1 choice for President for decades, so we finally got what we wanted - the closest possible human approximation to apathy!!

And he loves war. Any war. Anywhere. That's nothing but bad news for the world, not just us.

Carol Gee said...

Thanks so much for including the nice comment left elsewhere, to which I replied there. I'll say again, "Aw Schucks. . . "
I agree that trying to predict OCP is like trying to outrun a tornado. Let's hope that he, himself, has settled into the apathy of "lame-duckness." At least he'll do less harm that way. . . we can only hope.
Thanks for your comment, my friend.