November 6, 2008
Globalisation has taken several severe blows with the collapse of the economic structure in America, and countries all over the world are trying to weigh in protectionistic measures against globalisation.
The world (the west) now has to figure out how to deal with China and India.
(Russia, yeah, but I don’t want to make this entry too long and discussing interdependencies on energy, missile shields etc…are not for now..maybe later. And Russia doesn’t have much activity anywhere but South America compared to the aforementioned ones.)
China has long devalued their currency thus being able to export their goods cheaper, and their labour laws are more labour than law and so forth and so on. BUT these things are what make China great and are among the reasons why we have cheap goods. Admittedly, people are suffering and that’s bad.
India..wow, just wow. “Who would’ve thunk it?” As of 2004 India was seeing about 450 000 engineers graduating every year. China was leading the pack with about 600 000, USA about 70 000 and the entire EU around 100 000. This notion of us holding the edge in highly qualified jobs is a myth rapidly dying out. We in the western hemisphere need to reassess our own value.
Global companies are seeing the changes in developing countries where globalisation has increased the wealth of the countries which has lead to more schools opening. This enriching of countries is having an unexpected effect on large companies, they have to move further inland every year to cope with rising wages and employee demands. What happens when there isn’t any land left and everybody has an education? No more cheap goods for us? No more cheap labour?
More importantly, what worth are we in the west going to have – we don’t have cheap labour and now we’re losing the advantage of education?
Furthermore, I am deeply infuriated by the fact that politicians talk about fighting the deterioration of the climate without explaining to the public that fighting the climate change translates to serious changes in our way of life. I’d like to see just ONE of these politicians go out and explain to people that if the entire world were to reach our standard of living, we’d need to stop eating meat.
Heck, we need to stop eating meat now because of the demands from developing countries. I’m not ready to give up my steak – Are you?
Globalisation is glorious and helping people all over the world, although conversely it bears the downfall of my meat eating and moreover will lead to a shift in power – away from us.
Therefore we need to impoverish developing countries further and focus on our “exploitational ways”.
The hypocritical nature of professing global prosperity is ubiquitous in the west. Politicians are trying to sell an idea they don’t even believe in. We in the west have never believed in good governance anywhere but here, as it isn’t conducive to our way of life.
Let’s stop pretending.
// Probity dot H
I know I was supposed to talk about culture, but I’ll get back to that soon.
Some might not call China and India developing countries, and call them newly industrialized countries, which is true but large parts are still kept back and the reason why I chose China and India is because they are investing in developing countries. Sever the head so to speak…
Note: I added “and focus on our exploitational ways” to clarify what I thought was selfexplanatory in the text – stop globalisation and focus on exploitation.
October 28, 2008
“Separation of church and state”, viewed as essential for democracy by nations built under Christian influence. This isn’t true for Muslim countries, since religion and government aren’t mutually exclusive for them. Two different standpoints as to how religion factors in to democracy. However, does this separation of church and state exist anywhere?
First, two questions come to mind; “What is religion?” and “What is culture?”.
Keep in mind that objective criteria still mean debatable criteria. And since both religion and culture are terms with subjective criteria – therefore inconclusive and open to question - I’ve chosen Christianity and Islam as some sort of starting ground, as they are farthest a part (relatively speaking).
Judaism falls in to so many parts on both sides - geographically Muslim but culturally encompassing all three and the balance that lies therein. Judaism is sort of the tip of a triangle and Islam and Christianity are the lines stemming from it.
The picture below is meant to illustrate that religion and culture (as terms) draw from the same base. The ‘real life’ difference according to me, being that culture is fluid and subject to change while religion on the other hand is quite rigid.
If you find my claim that culture is fluid and subject to change plausible, then you should also find that the western culture today, largely is influenced by; the advent of religion (Judo-Christian) and the subsequent cultural fractions.
Culture (in ‘real life’) has organically evolved from all aspects of our humanity and isn’t confined to an era, it assimilates everything. Which to some extent even has lead the Abrahamic religions to change (interpretation wise).
We have this big dividing line between ‘the west’ and Muslim countries since one side claims to have separated church and state but still lets culture with religious tone influence the way they conduct business i.e the fear of Islam. And the other side not acknowledging their shift from Islam to a more fluid form of living (culture is taking over and going beyond religion). Which in turn, simply put, is the reason why we see McDonald’s in large parts of the middle east.
This state of non-reflective behaviour from both parts is, of course, detrimental to finding common ground. Either, both ‘sides’ need to “separate church and state” and sift through the after-separation-culture, removing remnants of religion - and then start talking. Or more realistically, let globalisation take its course and watch as culture prevails, as it is ours – collectively.
I believe that as soon as people admit that they are far to intelligent to be religious – the world will be a better place. Still keeping in mind that culture always will carry remnants of religion, but not in the forefront as it does today.
My conclusion is that there has been a quasi-separation of church and state. No secular states exist because the notion of secular states is a fallacy based on the separation of religion and culture without the realisation that the two share through osmosis.
Foreign policy through culture is sort of the basis of my next topic, in which I will elaborate this topic further.
// Probity dot H
October 12, 2008
Coca-Cola, Marlboro, McDonalds – all three dauntingly strong brands symbolising America wherever they go. They are brands within the all-encompassing brand of ‘America’.
Let’s assume that all the people in the world are shareholders of the brand ‘America’, and that our currency is hope in that brand. Then surely, it must be false economy to elect John McCain when the majority of the shareholders are hoping for someone else.
Republicans seem to emphasise that the president of the USA is being elected, but does that mean that the opinions of non-Americans somehow should be marginalised? To simplify my answer to that; The world is a pond, and depending on which of the presidential candidates America drops in it - the ripples will change.
Additionally, it doesn’t matter if the support Obama has is a direct result of a hype-machine leading to herd behaviour in the world. The support Obama has globally is a fact. The key issue has for that reason become: Will America fight the imminent uphill battles with someone whom the world favours or someone the world disapproves of?
As protectors of the ‘America’ brand, the American people should pursue to live up to brand expectation and prevent it from plummeting even further.
Now, my assessment is an extremely superficial take on the ‘America’ brand as a whole, but should be enough to highlight a monumental aspect – America in the eyes of the world.
Why is this not a bigger issue for the American people?
// Probity dot H
(One might argue that Marlboro isn’t American, but I would claim that people are of the impression that it is which is why I have cited it as something symbolising America).
Image by unknown author, altered by me from this site:
October 8, 2008
Alas, Africa is siding with the one partner who owes it nothing and negating the partner who is missing. I need not tell you of the exploitation of Africa, and I need not inform you of the neglect with which the African continent has had to live with for so long. What is interesting is how the rise of China is effecting the geopolitical game.
So, who are these sudanennes…sudanians or correctly put; Sudanese people? What I need people to understand is that to acquire an opinion is easy, forming one of your own is quite hard. The introductory question of this paragraph was put facetiously to highlight the many times people have discussed this topic without really knowing who it effects, thus feeding in to their acquired opinion. For some time now there has been a struggle between the north and south of Sudan. Why? Well, the North-South struggle was actually religiously fuelled and to some extent between different shades of brown. Basically, large parts of the south consists of people who are pagans and/or have other religious views than Islamic.
About 65% (instead of questioning me, read a book / Google your facts and then get back to me) of the Sudanese people are Sunni-Muslims. So how is this relevant to the current “genocide” in Darfur? The people of Darfur are descendants to a Muslim kingdom and are fiercly devout. This notion in western public media that the fundamentalist regime in Khartoum is killing people in Darfur because they have different religious views is wrong.
Sudan is a Muslim country and therefore politics and religion are not mutually exclusive. Some few years ago, the regime in Khartoum backed a militia, the Janjaweed. You may or may not have heard of Hassan al-Turabi. In essence, he is what we call a well educated fundamentalist, an EDUFU if you will ( I wonder if people will start using that word..). For a very long time now, he has been admired by devout rebel Muslims seeking to overthrow the government. Al-Turabi was in house arrest but still able to guide people within the Bashir regime and other Al-Turabi afflicted groups seeking refuge in Darfur (devout Muslim region…fundamentalists trying to find a place to hide…using Islam as a common ground…are the wheels turning for you yet?). Moving further along, the Bashir lead regime feared a coup d’état and acted.
So, the Janjaweed engaged the Turabi fractions in Darfur (mainly the Justice and Equality movement). This is where the story becomes interesting. The Janjaweed largely consists of men from nomadic tribes. It is in this struggle the Janjaweed saw an opportunity too further their own claims to land (the ability to roam free without ownership boundaries) which they thought the sedentary people of Darfur had taken. A struggle over land and regional power had ensued, not a government sponsored genocide.
Now, that is just the internal struggle in Sudan. To get a broader sense as to WHY western media has failed to give you and many of my neighbouring countries a nuanced picture of this ordeal, one must recognise the geopolitical components and their new adversary China.
In 2004, the US Secretary of State Mr Powell declared genocide in Sudan. By labelling the atrocities in Darfur as genocide he alienated the efforts made by the regime in Khartoum and gained much needed public opinion to go after what the Chinese were already getting – Oil.
You might ask why a diplomatic approach wasn’t taken to peruse the oil. Well, Bashir wanted no western countries in Sudan. Big NO-NO!. Not allowing western countries to operate in Sudan infuriated the global community (read: western hemisphere) thus, as a first step, Colin Powell labelled it genocide. To his dismay, he gained some public support even discussing the deployment of American troops, but not enough to go in and remove the Anti-Western regime in Khartoum.
Three years later, a struggle between al-Turabi and Bashir was still ongoing in Darfur and the Janjaweed and sedentary people were still fighting. Furthermore the Chinese were still making serious investments in Sudan and earning very, very much. Sudan had been torn apart by the struggle in Darfur, peace negotiations with the south and Khartoum were strained. Ah ha! thought the western community and Mr. Ocampo was invited to come play. Long story short; he, for the first time in the history of the ICC ,tried to indict a sitting president (Bashir). Ocampo claimed that Bashir was at fault for the ongoing killings in Darfur and that Bashir was in fact the one orchestrating everything.
Yet again the attempt to usurp the Khartoum regime had failed. In fact it more than failed, it backlashed. When he went out and accused President Bashir, the country gathered around Bashir much like the American people once gathered around Bush. Ocampo did what he least expected, he unified Sudan. Years of power struggle were subdued. WHY? Because Bashir was now able to say to the Sudanese people: “Look at what they are trying to do!”. He was able to divert focus. Moreover, Ocampo unified Africa. All major leaders in Africa supported Bashir and wanted him in power. They did so, fully knowing that if Bashir would be taken from power – they were next.
In an effort to come to a close, the geopolitical game is changing as China is investing more and more in Africa and giving back very much. Africa is taking a chance with the Chinese and by doing so, they are incurring the wrath of their former master. The overly exaggerated attention this situation has received is merely because Sudan is a rich country and it has a regime which doesn’t want to share it with the west.
Think of how much money that is flowing from the west to the east. Africa might not have to rely on the west in the coming decades – who are we going to exploit then?
People fighting over power? Yes.
// Probity dot HImage from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/abolition/black_imagery_gallery_04.shtml
October 3, 2008
Republican strategist Amy Holmes said Palin “more than held her own.” “She was polished, direct, folksy and on message. She stressed her personal experience both as a mom and as a governor, from the kitchen table to the executive branch, her record as a reformer and bipartisan deal maker. She even got Biden to agree with her,” Holmes said. -Excerpt from Cnn.com
Hold on one minute. Direct, folksy and on message. Wow… I’m going to let the “direct” and “on message” notes slide. But the folksy comment needs to be addressed.
Republicans accuse democrats of being elitists. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but yes, democrats are elitists and we should all be so lucky to elect statesmen(and women) with some sort of academic credential. How can “folksy” be a positive trait and furthermore a trait which should be coveted by all American representatives? I’m astonished by the fact that republican pundits tout Sarah Palin and her rural community attitude, as if it and she have a place on the international stage. Domestically, fine, but as a potential president, it is disastrous. Being folksy in the sense that you know the trials and problems of your country and its inhabitants be they rich or poor – great. But to be folksy in the Sarah Palin-sense in which you have that “gosh darn it” vernacular, and wink during a debate when you’re discussing policies that effect, not only 300+ million Americans, but most parts of the world is just more proof that she is not cut out to be Vice President, let alone President.
YES, Sarah Palin “rose above” the Katie Couric interview we’ve all seen, but how can our standards be set so low? Her approach to this election has been exactly that of Bush in 2004. When I say that, I mean keeping us to expect nothing to the point where Bush would do something catastrophic and we’d say “it’s bush…what are you gonna’ do?” and shrug our shoulders(!). This way, if she even gets a sentence together she gets nothing but praise. Like a child learning to speak. I don’t recall who first brought it to my attention but Bush is either a genius or a moron. Bush has got away with everything from trying to pronounce nuclear, to his cowboy antics “you’re either with us or against us” (don’t forget the economy…).
And like Palin, but instead of winking, Bush would disarm our intellectual capacity and critical thinking by laughing and we would focus on how to ridicule the man instead of focusing on what he just said. Succinctly put; don’t be fooled.
Elected officials only need to understand what the country is going through, they should not need to be “average joe six-pack”.
I also have a bone to pick with Biden. He was talking about “madrassas” (really should be madaaris) being built in Pakistan. I thought we were over this when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer explained that “madrassa” means school in Arabic (whether secular or religious). The word should not be tossed around and used as a label for fundamentalist training camps.
And on another note; I know I should focus on the other things happening in the world, but as I am trying to limit myself to one post per day, ignoring the election seems like dereliction of duty. I needed to vent on the ongoing ridiculousness. Don’t worry, I’ll switch soon. Darfur, for instance, is something that needs a nuanced review. Also Sarkozy and his ideas of further globalization is something that needs serious attention (good or bad?).
// Probity dot HImage from: http://www.myninjaplease.com/?cat=19
October 2, 2008
Love is blind but marriage is a real eye-opener
Ahh yes, what a beautiful dowry of about $700 billion. Past financial institutions, will you marry me?
Big corporations are moving closer to federal government and by doing so, moving closer to regulation (depending on which of the Presidential candidates we see in office).
The American government has always had a love relationship with the mortgage houses and big propped up financial institutions. And when you’re in love, you don’t really scrutinise your partner. He or she might snore at night, use excessive amounts of make up or even ask to borrow money when you know that they have absolutely no way of paying you back (sound familiar?).
And then…boom. You’re engaged. You might have been dating for a while, but that’s just the infatuation stage. Engagement (read: Marriage as far as women are concerned) sort of brings about a different set of rules. In the case of the American financial situation, our infatuation stage is over, and we’re scrutinising our partner, who is turning out to have a lot of skeletons in the closet. We could try to change our partner, but that would mean actually knowing all of our partner’s problems and fixing them. I don’t see that happening with a dowry of $700 billion. This dowry comes with superficial strings and very little thought has gone into the prenuptial agreement.
Our bride to be is a perfect 10 on the outside, so as men our tolerance level for flaws is quite high (come on people, this is like Jonah Hill marrying Gisele Bündchen). Our shared male minds must be going; “think of the acquisition of such prime ass(et)”. But what’s going to happen when she wants to spend 100 billion on hairspray (read: oil) for the 15th time and we’re running low on cash?
As a relationship expert I think somebody has to change and I don’t think she’s going to.
I guess we men are quite shallow beings…
// Probity dot H
October 1, 2008
Missing the wood for the trees
Reverence is in order when thinking of those who see suffering in the world and do something about it. Yes, going to Africa and helping a child is good – but does bringing the child back with you when you return home mean more good? My stance is that adoption is a temporary solution made permanent. More accurately, I am addressing people who also live in the so called “civilised world” and who venture out to adopt a child.
The children are in need. Yes, and I am not disputing nor depreciating the severity of the problem. What I am interested in is bringing to light the fact that adoption isn’t a long term solution to a much deeper rooted problem. The problem is that these countries, where my fellow colonialists go to get their chillun’ from, are poor. Indeed, you whom have adopted are making a crucial and life altering commitment to that child – but what about the rest?
Adopting from “third world countries” is the perfect example of self-gratifying need triumphing over a collective humanitarian effort to end suffering.
// Probity dot H
September 30, 2008
Serving the world
No not literally; on the contrary, the collective minds of the western hemisphere seem to be doing quite the opposite. Serving the world that is. I do not wish to entice you into something which one might construed to be insightful, but I do believe that I can share my thoughts on current events which have left me baffled. Mainly, things pertaining to foreign affairs (foreign for whom?).
“This whole blog thing” is my graceless entrance aimed at intellectually incurring the wrath of at least somebody with influence. And whilst I’m at it I’d like to bring forward a few sartorial comments regarding influential politicians. Primarily, their hideous way of trying to look unostentatious by wearing suits best worn to funerals. Who ever said that clothes don’t make the man…the man…and so forth, was obviously bonkers.
Until we meet again, dear visitor - when yet a confluence of events leads you back.
// Probity dot H