Tag Archives: North

A Spark in the Middle East

A wildfire has spread across the Middle East and Northern Africa. The flames of protest have raged on and now engulf over 15 countries. The smoke rising from the cities of Benghazi and Tripoli saturate the diplomatic airwaves. Two governments have been overthrown. And a third one is tittering on the brink of collapse.

But we all know this. We have seen the news reporters babbling non-stop in their usual fashion. What few of us know though is… how did the massive protests start? Literally, what spark ignited this whole conflict?

The spark of a Bic Lighter.

That´s right. All it took for these protests to erupt was a lighter, two cans of paint thinner and a man with nothing to lose. A single man, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire and inspired millions to rebel.


Through out history, man has often fought for freedom.
But are we, modern Westerners, willing to die for it?

—- Here is a scenario —-

Imagine you were Mohamed Bouazizi. Now suppose an angel came forth to you Bible-style and told you ¨Set yourself on fire, and your whole country shall be free¨. Would you be willing set yourself on fire, and like Mohamed Bouazizi, suffer the most painful death imaginable?

We, Westerners often label muslims as ¨radicals¨.
While we, on the other hand, are ¨rational¨.

Well. Here is what a rational Mohamed Bouazizi would have done: He would have appealed the confiscation of his property to a corrupt government, only to be ignored. Facing amounting debts, he would have fallen into a depression. Tired of living, and thinking life is pointless, Mohamed would have OD´ed himself on Aspirins. No massive protests in Tunisia and elsewhere. End of story.

Morale of the story: one can´t always be rational when facing injustice, corruption or tyranny. When something isn´t right, it´s the citizens job to change it. To take action. The Founding Fathers were viewed as radicals by the British Empire. The First French Republic was viewed as radical by the rest of the European countries.

Black - Revolution ------ Green/Tan - Major Protests

It is this radical ¨muslim¨ spirit, steaming from necessity and lack of freedom, which has overthrown both the Egyptian and Tunisian governments.

We in first-world countries on the other hand:

  • have food on our tables
  • have a decent amount of freedom
  • and thus, no need for radical spirit

The radical spirit in US and European citizens has been dormant since the end of WWII. Instead of radical, we act more “rationally”. This rational spirit is good for government stability, but taken to the extreme can lead to a conformist society.
And a conformist society is bad. Conformity stalls economic development, limits professional creativity and helps incompetent politicians (GWB) rise to power.

We, as free people, have to make sure we never lose our radical spirit. We must retain our ability to stand up and march radically against any threat to our basic human rights. We must defend our freedom of speech. And to those who say “one man can’t make a difference”.

Tell that to Ghandi.
Tell that to Martin Luther King.
Tell that to Mohamed Bouazizi.

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Mexico, a Superpower?

This post is a continuation of last’s week’s ¨Review – The Next 100 Years¨, a book written by George Friedman, CEO of the largest private intelligence company in the world. In this post we will discuss how Mexico will one day challenge US power in North America.

2080 – Mexico´s rise to Power

Two eagles collide

 

Factors to take into consideration:

  1. Mexican inmigrants don´t usually lose their closeness with Mexico.
  2. Being neighbors with the USA is an economic advantage.
  3. Mexicans still feel like the USA stole their northern territory.

By 2070 Mexico´s economy will be in the top 10.

  • It´s currently #14 in GDP (production)
  • The second largest flow of money into Mexico, is the money Hispanic citizens in the US send to their families in Mexico.
  • Much like the millions of dollars produced by illegal alcohol sales in the USA during 1930´s, the billions of $$$ made by the drug cartels in Mexico will one day be ¨cleansed¨ through reinvesment in the country.

By 2070, the Hispanic citizens and inmigrants will constitute over 70% of the total population in former Mexican territories.

 

Source - US Census Bureau (2006)

 

Around 2080, tensions between USA and Mexico will escalate:

  1. Hispanic commnity will have a large representation in Congress.
  2. The rest of the US citizens will start feeling threatened by the growth of the Hispanic community.
  3. A Mexican secessionist movement will be born calling for the reintegration of these ¨Latino¨ states back to Mexico.

This minoritary Mexican secessionist movement (within the USA) will fuel the fire of the US conservative base. The American right-wing will label this movement an ¨insurrection¨ and will start calling for the inmediate deportation of all ¨Hispanics¨ back to Mexico.

The American goverment will respond by deporting all Mexicans who are not citizens back across the border. The Mexican seccesionis will then turn to vandalism and start revolting. The US will try to contain the revolt by mobilizing the National Guard and the US army.

The Mexican goverment will also mobilize its army to the border. The American actions will be viewed as racist ¨ethnic cleansing¨ by the Mexican goverment, whose right-wing party will start gaining massive support. While militarily superior, the US will not be facing the Mexican army. Instead it will be inmersed in an inner struggle to keep it´s southern states under control.

Territorial shifts aside, Given that the Hispanic community will be the biggest one in the US by 209o, the question will be:

Washington D.C or Mexico City?

Which city will be the capital of North America by 2100?

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Wikileaks Scandal – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The publication of 250,000 US diplomatic cables last week by Wikileaks.com has caused quite a scandal in both the US and International community. While the legality/morality/goal of such action is dubious, the fact of the matter is that the information is out there and can’t be taken back. That being said, before taking sides on the issue (freedom of speech vs. Assange terrorist), lets analize the effects of such publication:

The Good

  • Like the Pentagon Papers (Vietnam) and the Watergate Scandal, some of the cables published reveal corrupt and inmoral US goverment operations. Operations that our democratic  govermentof should never have to endorse.

1. Hillary Clinton ordered a spy operation on UN leadership. The US diplomats were asked to obtain DNA samples, adresses, credit card numbers, phone numbers, tax and pager numbers and EVEN computer passwords from top UN members. Such operation is a blatant infringement of UN laws and individual privacy.

2. The oil company Shell admits to have infiltrated the Nigerian goverment at all levels. To such an extent that a Shell executive boasted that they know exactly everything that goes on within the Nigerian ministries. Such capitalistic, corrupt infiltration of a goverment is clearly anything but “democratic” or ethical.

  • The publication of the cables also brought to light the high level of corruption, bribery, criminal dealings of the current Russian goverment. Now its up to the russian population to take action (if they can) and try to reform such a obscure goverment procedures.

The Bad

  • Some of the cables published couldn’t have come at a worse time. A time where the economy is bad, the Middle East is unstable and North Korea is highely agressive.
  1. By revealing that China is progessively withdrawing its support to North Korea, the north koreans will feel threatened to lose its biggest patron and thus seek to further distabilize the Korean region.
  2. By revealing that US is backed by many Arab countries in its attempt to contain Iran’s influence/nuclear proliferation; expect the already-radical Iranian president to turn even more radical.
  3. By revealing the weakness or corruption of many African presidents, the publication has put the continent’s stability at test.
  • Also, USA’s political credibility has been weakened worldwide.

The Ugly

  • Several cables revealed that behind the deities of the Saudi Arabian royalty, there are parties that include alcohol, strippers and drugs. Have only two words to say on the matter – PARTY POOPER.
  • The US goverment’s response of prosecuting and shutting down Internet sites goes agaisnt the ideal of freedom of speech. Such action has only made the USA look undemocratic, like China.
  • If people of the likes of Julian Assange can hack into Pentagon archives and shutdown Visa.com; imagine how easily they could steal our passwords and other personal digital information.

Conclusion

While unmasking corruption and inmoral actions is always justified (Vietnam, Watergate, in this case the corruption of Nigeria and American espionage in the United Nations) I believe the problem lies not in the action, but in the indiscriminate manner such information was made public. A responsible person would have taken the time to actually skim through the cables and publish that which is useful for society. The data which helps foment human relations.

What is Julian Assange seeking to gain by publishing “provoking” personal correspondence of US diplomats? (such as the one Hillay Clinton states that the Argetinian president seems “mentally unstable” or another that describes Nicolas Sarkozy as “impatient and undiplomatic”) Does this type of personal correspondence help the international community in any way? Or does it merely seek to obtain notoriety and spark bitterness between world leaders?

Just like you wouldn’t inform a patient in intensive care that his parents have just suffered a horrible death; when revealing secrets one has to take the timing and possible consequences into account. In this case, some of the cables published about Iran and North Korea seem more likely to trigger violence than “enlightment” or “transparency”. So while I wouldn´t call Julian Assange a criminal, I would definitely label some of his actions as unthoughtful.

And as for the US goverment, instead of trying to control the release of information (which is impossible), your efforts would be better spent in figuring out ways to better protect secrets so they doesn’t get “stolen” in the first place.

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For more information, The Guardian has developed a detailed interface/map of the 250,000 cables

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