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Airstrikes in Syria-Pounding ISIS/ISIL

Uncategorized Sep 23, 2014

Deflating the momentum that the Islamic State had gained in August and September 2014 has been a strategic security imperative, one that demanded immediate action as the world witnessed the increasing boldness of those under the black flag.  And now was time to pound the territory the Islamic State refers to as  their “conquered land”.  The reasons for the delay in a U.S. response are complicated but are not limited to duplicitousness of the Syrian regime, issues with Russia,  the concurrence of Saudi Arabia, complications with Iran, concern for Jordan's security,, and the indecisiveness of Turkey.  Still, it was TIME to provide a very clear message to those groups that were moving forward with a full head of steam, the world does not support your goals. The free rein that those under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (his name is no coincidence) have operated under in recent months had reached levels sufficient to convince selective Arab...

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Ukraine is to Russia, as Scotland is to the United Kingdom?

Uncategorized Sep 17, 2014

The world is undergoing tremendous change in the 21st century.  The reasons are many and varied.  The unraveling of borders drawn by the victors of war since the turn of the 20th century, the influence of globalization, the availability of information via world-wide-internet connectivity, the legacy of Cold War polarization, the admirable spirit of democracy that was expressed in the so-called Arab Spring, only to be quashed & suppressed, and many other factors; all contributing to a sense of upheaval in nearly every meridian and parallel around the earth. But let’s make a case study of how differently events are playing out in  the  Ukraine-Russia dilemma juxtaposed with the impending Scotland-United Kingdom decision. In both instances there are smaller nations that seek to alter a long-standing relationship with a greater power. Both Russia and the United Kingdom clearly enjoy global reach, economic prowess, and military supremacy well beyond that of...

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Is ISIS a "Direct" Threat to the U.S.?

isis Sep 10, 2014

Over this last weekend, the many “pundit shows” on television spent a great deal of time to  inform the public about the group that refers to itself as ISIS.  A question that was repeatedly posed to expert after expert was,  “Is ISIS a direct threat to the U.S. (homeland)?” This question, in many respects, underlies a range of unspoken concerns regarding the role of the United States and more importantly, the vulnerability of the United States at this time. To visit that question, “Is the U.S. vulnerable to the threat of ISIS?”  The clear answer is YES.  The U.S. is vulnerable on a number of fronts to this terrorist group. It is unnecessary for the President and his administration to frighten the public.  Politicians are, by and large, being very responsible with the intelligence that is available.  But it is also important to be straight with the public in acknowledging that ISIS is presently and will remain a...

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Why Obama Has The Wrong Strategy on ISIS

isis Sep 04, 2014

Strategic calculus when dealing with foreign policy and national security concerns is always tricky. The variables are endless, the actors unpredictable, and the unintended consequences….well, unintended consequences are inevitable which is what makes the decision-making process so burdensome.    However, at the level of head of state one cannot withhold decision-making out of an abundance of concern for jurisprudence and sound measure, to the exclusion of all unintended consequences. When in positions of power, unintended consequences often accompany big decisions. So, what is the fundamental basis for the negative assessment of President Obama’s performance with respect to countering the ever-imposing terrorist threat from those who fly under the flag of ISIS?  What is at the root of the murmurs in the beltway where politicians, security analysts, and military strategists are increasingly speaking out against the President’s public...

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Qatar's Next Steps As the U.S. Prepares to Withdraw Its Military Combat Forces From Afghanistan

As the analysts pounce on the story of the prisoner release as a swap for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl, one thing is certain.  The five Taliban who had been detained at the Guantanamo Bay camp will have nothing good to report about the United States and their experiences at Gitmo.  It is impossible to project in to the future with any estimation of security preparation how their release will impact the Afghan Taliban.  One can hope that the Qatari's have thought through the next steps.  Qatar is an important player in the movement of quelling the conflict climate between Muslim states and the United States. As the U.S. prepares to withdraw its military combat forces from Afghanistan, it will be important to watch the role the Qatari's play in brokering future deals to safeguard any semblance of security for the people who have lived under war conditions for well over a decade.  Convincing the Taliban to take the more moderate approach with the new Afghan...

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Stunning But Not Surprising

The headlines today from Egypt are stunning but not surprising.  The removal of President Morsi from the office of the presidency by the military was signaled as soon as the 48 hour deadline was given.  The military had tipped their hand by giving Morsi the opportunity to resign before they removed him by force. As the first democratically elected president, his removal has left the world asking, "Is this the end of democracy in Egypt?"  And the answer is "No", these events do not clearly indicate the end of democracy in the Middle East.  However they are an indication of how difficult the journey from corrupt oppressive systems to representative government can be.  The movement in the Arab world to transition from autocratic family regimes will require tremendous effort from the Egyptians and the world is witnessing the voice of the "street" in the numbers of protesters that poured out to call for Morsi to step down. The role of the military in these events...

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The Garishness of the Gun Culture and A Challenge to the NRA

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2012

--Merriam Webster definition of "garishness": 1 : clothed in vivid colors;  2a: excessively or disturbingly vivid, b: offensively or distressingly bright : glaring; 3: tastelessly showy: flashy. What is there to say about the unspeakable shooting of 20 children?  What is there to say about the 6 adults who died to protect innocent children? What kind of a society are we becoming in America when concerns of teachers and school districts turn to questions like, "Are our schools safe enough?  Should we allow teachers to have guns?  Do we need to make our campuses as secure as prisons?" This is madness, true madness.  And just like the frog in the pot that is heated slowly rather than quickly boiled, the certainty is that the American culture is headed for madness.  And therefore I address my words to the NRA. Surrogates of the NRA continue to frame any issue related to stricter guns laws as an attack on the Second Amendment.  The specious argument...

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The Dangers of Partisanship

Uncategorized Nov 02, 2012

This week in America the nation is focused on the outcome of the election for the next president of the United States.  After enduring  a grueling campaign that has lasted well over a year, the citizens who cast their vote will decide which man will shoulder the problems of the nation for the next four years.  A question that hangs in the balance is whether or not the country can get beyond the oppressive polarization of "D" and "R".  At a time when a critical inflection point looms, the government must come together for the common good to solve the deficit crisis and remedy the so-called "fiscal cliff" drama. Still another crisis in the United States has been the deterioration of responsible government.  Representatives who are charged with serving the country for the good of the public have devolved in to partisanship wherein their first loyalty is to the party instead of to the citizens.  This contravention of representative democracy portends costly...

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Egypt As Lodestar

Uncategorized Sep 27, 2012

The shifting sand in the Middle East predicates that new regional leadership is desperately needed.  The old order is crumbling; most painfully so in Syria.  But without a doubt, the old order is giving way to the new order.  The emerging new order is a tenuous process and one that requires a steady hand from western powers.  But the prospect of a strong Egypt brings many dividends.  Of all the states in the Middle East, Egypt has the most potential to lead its neighboring states out of decades of political and economic disparity. A nation-state of more than 80 million people with a 60% youth bulge, Egypt has a rich resource in the generation that protested in Tahrir Square.  These young people want jobs and have widened their world views in the vastness of You Tube  and through cross-cultural exchanges on social media.  The internet has served as change-agent tool.  The youth in Egypt are a generation that has already rejected many of...

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Time For A New Political Consciousness In The Arab World

The mixture of Islamic radicalism, populist outrage, and hooligan contagion in the Middle East continues to play out on the television screens around the world.  Sparked by an amateurish film about the Prophet Muhammad, Muslims were ignited in to a fire that spread across northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of SE Asia. Unfortunately the film was bait and a percentage of Muslims  went for the lure.  The film was a transparent attempt to manipulate with the weapons of insult and denigration.  I have viewed pieces of this so-called film and its purpose was undeniable, provocation.  But neither the film nor its provocation were/are justification for violence and those who participated in the mob riots have harmed the religion of Islam more than the filmmaker.  The film was deeply disrespectful, but the violent response on the part of a minority population captured the world's attention and tore down the dignity of the...

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