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Archive for the ‘The United States’ Category

Sanatorum Dropping Out

In Democracy, Elections, The United States on April 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm

It looks like Santorum is dropping out (finally). He had an interesting, crazy run, but it looks like Republicans finally accepted Romney.

Now I’m wondering what Ron Paul will do, if anything. It will be interesting to watch it unfold.

Gingrich should quit, actually he should have threw in the towel a long time ago. But looks like his long-term friend is ready to accept Romney.

Occupied

In Social Media, The United States on April 6, 2012 at 11:40 am

In case any of you have missed this, I read an interesting article from somewhere on the internet.

The Great Firewall bans most users from Facebook in China. Apparently there’s a glitch in a browser that allows them to set up Google+ accounts.

President Obama has a Google+ account. I’m sure you can guess the rest.

UPDATE:

Looks like the Egyptians are doing it now on his Facebook page. Is this a new trend?

The Republican Implosion

In Democracy, Elections, The United States on April 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I’m waiting to see who else gets kicked off the island, paraphrasing President Obama on the Tonight Show, when asked when he would start his campaign.

And that’s true. Everyone who has been involved or even cared to follow the Republican Primary knows it has been a circus. And a circus is putting it mildly.

With all the eccentric personalities, the lead changes, the absolutely crazy assertions that some candidates made, makes quite a few people think that the Republican Party is full of lunatics. Not really. But it does reveal something interesting.

Let’s be clear. The American take all system cannot possibly allow for a third party. Money, resources, and energy are at stake for the race to the top. But it does make you think.

With the big win in Wisconsin, many Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief that perhaps this thing is over. Yes, they probably do not like Mitt Romney, view him as being the best of the worst, but at least this thing is coming to an end. Not quite.

Newt Gingrich has vowed to fight on, and so has Santorum, in a last ditch effort to take as many delegates as possible. Romney is the obvious winner, and now we are in for a power struggle, back room deals deciding who gets what cabinet or position should Romney be elected. This is the danger for many Moderate Republicans who have a distaste for social conservatism; a simple repeat of the 2008 elections where the moderate McCain bowed down to conservative pressure and appointed a neo-conservative female (something that, believed at the time, covered all the bases) as Vice President, which ultimately cost him the election. There is a large debate at the moment, even if it is just a tiny thought in the back of your mind, that the Republican party is finished, or on a long, slow slide toward the dark abyss.

Not necessarily.

For we forgot one individual who is still in the race. Ron Paul. He is the great force of nature that everyone should be scared of. He has been steadily picking up delegates as well, and on top of that, he has a very loyal base. The biggest question everyone should be thinking about, is which way is he going to turn? Will he run as an independent, and if so, is he taking votes from independents who are disenchanted with the previous four years away from President Obama or is he going to appeal to those moderate, fiscally conservative Republicans that make-up Romney’s staying power. There is a large cloud looming over the country, we just do not know where it will rain, or where lightning will strike.

The Republicans are struggling, but it’s a familiar one. Two powerful ideologies, some even argue that are fixated on opposite poles, are always in conflict. Fiscal responsibility and social conservatism. The Republicans are well adapted at handling this beast. They did it during the last primary where Mitt Romney quickly bowed out and allowed John McCain to move forward as he was picking up delegates and becoming more popular with voters. But before has it been like this? Where so many different ideologies have combated each other until the bitter end? One can argue that even at this point, with the flip-flopping and the flag waving of who is the most conservative, the race to the middle, and then the race back to the far right, that this is actually pretty unique. At least in its duration.

And this is where Ron Paul comes in. Though Republican (who used to be a Democrat) he has not been afraid to come out as the black sheep, even being booed at debates, he sticks to his guns and is very stubborn. The Republicans have a choice. Ron Paul will more than likely run as a third candidate, he has the support, the money, and the energy. There are many who state that this is a danger to Obama but I highly disagree. It’s more of a danger to the Republicans. Santorum won a lot of delegates and he has some bargaining power. Plus he plays into the traditional struggle between the moderates and the conservatives. Romney may have no choice but to give Santorum the VP slot and that would be a disaster. If the Republicans want a shot in November they would be wise to give it to Ron Paul. That would do the most damage to Obama and take a powerful third contender out of the race, giving the Independent votes to the Republicans. Plus if Gingrich decides to run as a third candidate, he will probably just be ignored, vying for attention like that kid you knew who wanted to be popular but never had a chance.

But, if you are someone who has followed politics for quite a while, it becomes second nature. The characters may change but the story stays the same. And so does the ending.

Great expectations

In Afghanistan, Civil Society, Foreign Policy, Israel, The United States on October 12, 2009 at 7:36 am

I decided to wait to blog my personal thoughts regarding Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 until it became apparent the nature of the reaction. I had an idea and it seems that my own perception seemed to be correct.

Much of the rhetoric is that the committee that awarded the prize was rash and mistaken as, according to the critics, Obama has no real accomplishments in his first 9 months as President that warrant such a prestigious honor. Furthermore, they see him as turning into a puppet of the international community, or to put it bluntly, being in Europe’s pocket. Having foreseen this reaction, Obama himself was very cautious when delivering his speech about receiving the award. He stated that he was both surprised and humbled by receiving such an award and viewed the reward not as “a recognition of [his] own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.”

Let’s be frank. Obama is not in the pocket of the Europeans, indeed it’s quite the opposite. Obama has large popularity outside of America’s borders, which strengthens his position on American foreign policy and does not by any means weaken it. Politicians abroad will feel more pressure to side with the U.S. on policies, even controversial ones such as the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, Iran, North Korea, and NATO engagement in Afghanistan. To state otherwise is prosperous as we’ve already seen the consequences of acting in the opposite way during George W. Bush’s presidency. Obama has been rebuilding America’s political soft power and him receiving the Nobel Prize will quicken this process.

That being said, it cannot be ignored that there are challenges that he will face, most notably from the radical opposition that has been very outspoken against his efforts to reform health care. There is a large anti-European element in the United States. This will never change. Fareed Zakaria stated it best, contributing to Anderson Cooper’s AC360 program on CNN, that it’s never a great thing for a President of the United States to be popular in France. Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize will without a doubt increase this perception of fear. That said, it’s obvious that the committee in Norway decided to make this years award a political one. It’s apparent that Obama does not have many accomplishments that would deserve him such a prize, rather the decision was a way to mitigate foreign opposition to Obama’s endeavor of working closer with the United Nations, fostering cooperation between countries, and to allow a resurgence of Wilsonism in the international arena.

The committee, however, may have misread the situation. Obama is in need of some good news, but not to the outside world, but to regular Americans themselves. Pushing through Congress one of the most controversial pieces of legislature since the days of Franklin Roosevelt has cost him large amounts of political capital from his own party, capital that he will need if he wants to tackle, as he termed it, the war of necessity that is Afghanistan. Another consequence of awarding such a prize at a premature date is the perception of the Nobel Prize itself to Americans as not being one that is awarded based on true merit, but rather as a political tool or an attempt from Europe to directly influence American foreign policy.

The White House is well aware of these issues, and the approach that has surfaced is one of cautiousness and constraint. Regardless of these hinderances and controversies, at the end of the day this will be a major boost to Obama’s attempt at transforming the international system and putting the United States on a firm foothold as a conduit for such change. The major challenge he will face is the added pressure that has been put on him out of the expectation that he is in the position to make drastic changes in the world, where if he fails, not only will his popularity further plummet within the United States but outside of it as well.

A major boost to international cooperation and diplomacy

In Civil Society, Israel, Palestinians, The United States on October 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

It has just been announced that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. This will without a doubt reenforce his international standing and position in promoting international cooperation and the United Nations in resolving disputes.

I also presume that this fast tracks the Israeli/Palestinian peace process, and will put pressure on both leaders, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas, to find a solution.

A strategic move by a well respected international organization.