Putting Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Blast

Putting Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Blast

Or… Chafee’ing at the Bit

Last week, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination to the Presidency. I think most of us would predictably yawn. Chafee intends to press Hillary Clinton on her foreign policy record which I think is all good and well seeing as how Clinton has functioned as the war-mongering foreign policy hawk that I had hoped her former-rival-turned-boss, President Obama, would not become. He did. Very disappointingly. Clinton had a chance to be a steadying hand as Secretary of State but she fell right in lock-step with El Presidente.

Chafee has almost no chance whatsoever in preventing Clinton from winning the Democratic nomination. Barack Obama had a magnetic presence that Chafee does not; Clinton will not be denied again and definitely not by an old white boy. Given current Republican alternatives, I have a hard time picturing myself voting for the eventual Republican nominee.

So why should we care about Chafee’s predictably doomed campaign. Because predictably, Congress is full of lily-livered jagoffs who care more about being able to complain about the occupant of the White House than actually fulfilling their constitutional duties. Witness:

In 2011, President Obama announced that he could go to war against Libya without congressional approval. Congress hemmed and hawed, but in the end was unable to agree to do anything about it. Two years later members of Congress were vocal about Obama’s lack of action against Syria when it was revealed that the Assad regime had been using chemical weapons. Obama eventually responded and asked Congress for approval to take military action. Congress did nothing. Now we have yet another war, this time against ISIS, and Obama asked for congressional approval months ago. Result: nothing. Members of Congress would rather be free to lambaste Obama on the campaign trail than to actually commit themselves to a strategy. [Kevin Drum: Yet Again, Congress Is Too Scared to Assert Its Warmaking Powers]

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The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

In an Economist.com article on a scheduled summit between American and the six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council on May 13th and 14th, this blurb caught my eye:

And he [President Obama] cannot meet all the Gulf requests for advanced weaponry, because congressional legislation requires that Israel must maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its neighbours. [Emphasis mine]

That the USA and Israel have a special relationship is no surprise. Israel has been the only consistently functioning democracy in a region of states replete with strife and governmental incompetence.

It also makes some type of sense that the USA would want to ensure that its favored state in the region should have the ability to defend itself. But I find no compelling interest in the USA hamstringing itself because of a requirement that Israel continue to be able to kick its Arab neighbors’ collective arse. Read more about The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

Muslim or Black in America

Muslim or Black in America

I think, if there’s one thing I will like about President Obama’s term coming to an end, it is that perhaps the extreme right-wing of this country will go back to their classic culture wars tropes – wars on the poor, black people and a little misogyny thrown in for good measure. Actually a lot of misogyny if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee. (Yes, the Left has its own classics so shut up).

Eight years of people screaming about creeping shari’a law. Eight years of the President supposedly being a Muslim and facilitating the rise of militant Islam in the USA. Eight years of not understanding what the hell the President Obama’s speech in Cairo meant. Eight years of people posting stupid bullshit taking the President’s tolerance completely out of context while throwing their hands up in the air saying, “No really I don’t hate Muslims!”

Did you hear that [insert geographic location] was bombed the other day? Whodunit? Too late – almost every single Muslim in the USA already thought, “oh please let it not be a Muslim!” How relieved I was when the Oklahoma City bombing was found to be done by a non-Muslim. Praise Jeebus!

But I was struck tonight, after reading another half-assed attempt to tar and feather Islam and President Obama, that this ain’t shit compared to what blacks in this country have and continue to endure. Read more about Muslim or Black in America

American(ized) #Islam

American(ized) #Islam

Culture and religion, no matter how universal we may want to view the latter’s principles, are inexorably tied. Islam strives to be a religion sans culture, stressing its universality. Due to its founding in the Arabian peninsula, it makes sense that Islamic practice is fundamentally mixed up with tied to the cultures of the Arab world.

But that has not prevented the religion from being adopted in unique ways by non-Arab Muslims around the world. In fact, less than 20% of the world’s Muslims hail from the Middle East. Nigerian Islam and Bangladeshi Islam may share the same underlying principles but their expressions will be different because culture cannot be subsumed under religion.

Region Population Percent of total regional population Percent of world Muslim population
South & Southeast Asia 1,005,507,000 24.8 62.1
Middle East-North Africa 321,869,000 91.2 19.9
Sub-Saharan Africa 242,544,000 29.6 15
Europe 44,138,000 6 2.7
Americas 5,256,000 0.6 0.3
World Total 1,619,314,000 23.4 100

(Source: Wikipedia – Islam by Country/Region)

It stands to reason that American Islam should also have its own character. I’ve written before about the need to find a new way to educate Muslims, that is not so reductive. Richard Mouw, writing in First Things, touches upon a separate complaint that others have brought up:

I read recently that some young Muslims in the United States are complaining that what goes on in their mosques is not “American” enough. They say that the patterns of worship and religious education seem designed to preserve the connections to the countries from which their Muslim communities emigrated, while these young folks want their faith to guide them in their lives in America. Shouldn’t their leaders be doing more, they ask, to help them understand how their faith applies to the country of which they are now citizens?

(H/T as always to Rod Dreher for linking to Mouw’s article). Read more about American(ized) #Islam

The USA, NATO, Russia, China, and the Monroe Doctrine

The USA, NATO, Russia, China, and the Monroe Doctrine

In his latest show, Common Sense podcaster Dan Carlin talked about how the actions of Russia are in large part an answer to NATO expanding its borders almost unto Russia’s borders and rubbing its nose in areas which the Russians considers to be their business, not the West’s.

For an old and powerful country like Russia, this is simply ‘poking the bear’. It’s an intrusion into what they consider to be their sphere of influence. Consider Ukraine, which Russia has always regarded as under its sphere of influence. And perhaps rightfully so, since it’s a border country. Previously, the Ukrainians had democratically elected a government which favored closer ties with mother Russia. Then that government was overthrown by a government which favored closer ties to the West. US diplomats had been recorded talking about what they would do to increase USA/western influence and decrease Russian influence. It is perhaps not unreasonable to expect that the Russians would think ill of such provocations.

Nor would it be unreasonable that the USA would think ill of countries meddling in the internal affairs of those within the its sphere of influence. The Monroe Doctrine, issued as far back as 1823, states:

The occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers.

Essentially, the USA was telling the European powers to keep the hillel out of the Americas. The USA considers the Americas to be our backyard and quite simply, “get off all our lawns!” Read more about The USA, NATO, Russia, China, and the Monroe Doctrine