U.S. in push for foreign arms deals: report," a story from Reuters (9/14/08), lays out a very unpleasant reality. The Bush Doctrine is at the center of a "military-industrial complex" that seems to have no boundaries. Eight years after the terrorist attacks on the United States, this administration seems to know only conflict, military arms and business as usual. Rather that focusing on peace, the budget goes largely for an interminable war. Congress and the president prop up military contractors, who often manufacture cold war systems. And diplomatic gross ineptitude results in uneasy relationships with countries all around the world. To quote:
The Bush administration is pushing through a wide range of foreign weapons deals in a bid to rearm Iraq and Afghanistan and contain North Korea and Iran, The New York Times reported.
The deals range from tanks, helicopters and fighter jets to missiles, remotely piloted aircraft and warships, the Times said in its Sunday editions. The weapons and other military equipment foreign sales have totaled more than $32 billion this year, compared with $12 billion in 2005.
While the focus has been on the Middle East, sales extend to northern Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and Canada, the Times said.
"This is not about being gunrunners," the Times quoted Bruce Lemkin, the Air Force deputy undersecretary who has coordinated many of the largest sales, as saying. "This is about building a more secure world."
The reality is that since 9/11/01, terrorism has been on the rise. And the unfortunate myopic Middle East regional bias means neglect of other places where the U.S. might be helpful. India for example has a large problem, of which we are seemingly unaware. About all that interests the U.S. regarding India right now is a questionable nuclear deal. Another Reuters article details: "India police raid slums, relatives angry after bombs," (9/14/08). To quote: "The National Counterterrorism Centre in Washington says 3,674 people had been killed in militant attacks in India between January 2004 and March 2007, a death toll second only to that in Iraq."
Meanwhile much of the world does not have enough to eat. Global warming is on the rise, threatening farming, particularly in Africa. A recent e-mail from David Lane from One.org, reminded me that the unpleasant reality of starvation is, at times, the direct result of lack of a decent U.S. development effort, conflict and war. Again, the U.S. budget figures attest to administration priorities. To quote:
High food and fuel prices continue to have a catastrophic impact on the world's poorest people and threaten to roll back some of the great progress we've made alleviating poverty in areas including AIDS, malaria, and education.
Later this month, world leaders are going to the United Nations in NYC. They’ll be discussing the world's progress toward the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs)—critical issues like health, education and water. They must also act on the food and hunger crisis. There are 30 countries in immediate need of emergency food assistance and essential seeds and fertilizer. These countries have created specific plans to feed the hungry and prevent future crises by enabling people to provide for themselves. Meeting these emergency needs requires $1 billion in funding by the end of this year.
Here is where you can sign a petition, the letter reads: "As world leaders come together for the United Nations summit, please ask them to close the book on the hunger crisis. Please click the link to add your name to our petition asking them to do so:" Petition link The petition reads:
Please provide life-saving food and essential seeds and fertilizer to the 30 countries that need it most by filling the 2008 food and agriculture funding gap of $1 billion without delay.
Condi travels to Libya for a historic meeting, as well as several other places abroad. The definition of enemy has undergone an amazing transformation under the Bush administration. They are able to have a set of conflicting standards for who is favored or unfavored. Syria is still out of favor. The "Damascus Spring" in Syria has faded into memory, according to the Financial Times. To quote [regarding Syria]:
. . . activists point to other Middle East states such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which have poor human rights records but enjoy strong ties with the west – even adding Libya to the list after Condoleezza Rice’s visit to the north African state last week – to argue that international relations are one thing, internal reform another.
"What Is Condeleeza Rice REALLY Doing Over There?" asks my regular contributor, "betmo," who sent me this link to Bluebloggin (9/7/08) Security was very high. Dick Cheney was traveling in other parts. A good deal of it has to do with AFRICACOM, the strange strategic hybrid of military melded with diplomacy. To quote:
Rice arrived in (staunch US ally) Morocco late on Saturday after visiting Algeria and Tunisia and holding a historic meeting with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli.
Rice’s visit is her first as secretary of state to this region of increasing strategic importance in terms of oil resources, emigration and terrorism.
The Bush Doctrine had no meaning for Republican Veep candidate, Governor Sarah Palin, until it was explained to Palin incorrectly by ABC's Charles Gibson, during their interview. The doctrine of preventive war is at the center of a Bush-military-industrial complex that has no boundaries. Bush business as usual means an interminable "preventive" war in Iraq, certainly a contradiction in terms. Uneasy relationships all around the world -- what a legacy!
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.