Thursday, October 28, 2010

Voters are Distracted in a Dangerous World

By Alan Caruba

It is natural that Americans would be focused on the November 2nd elections, but it is worrisome that they are also distracted from a world that grows more volatile and dangerous by the day.

Just across the southern border, Mexico is disintegrating into anarchy with mass murders occurring all the time. The government gives little evidence of being able to gain control because, as often as not, holding a position in its government will get you killed. A recent CNSnews.com article reports that 1,200 children have been killed by cartel violence in Mexico since 2006. Overall, more than 28,000 Mexicans have been killed as the result of drug trafficking related-violence between December 2006 and July 2010.

At what point must Mexico be put under martial law to crush the drug cartels or cease to be a modern state? At what point would the U.S. have to invade militarily to impose security on our shared southern border?

While Americans ponder the elections, the U.S. has moved a second carrier group to the Persian Gulf, perhaps because military intelligence has picked up signals that the Iranian leadership which normally works through proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas is preparing for either an offensive or defensive state of war.

Iran has managed to stir the cauldron of the Middle East for decades now. Closely allied with Syria and the main support for Hezbollah, Lebanon is poised for yet another civil conflict and no matter what the outcome it will not bode well for Israel. A huge arsenal of rockets and other weapons have been moved into Lebanon since the 2006 conflict with Israel.

The failure of the Iraqi elections to result in a ruling coalition in its parliament is a sign of instability and it is known that Iran has played a massive role in the provision of weapons that were used against U.S. forces following the 2003 invasion.

Economic sanctions against Iran are having some effect, but not enough to destabilize the ruling junta of ayatollahs even in the face of major protests in the streets of Tehran following the rigged reelection of Mamoud Ahmadinejad.

Afghanistan has proven to be a total loss for U.S. policy and the exercise of its military efforts. Participating nations are withdrawing from the NATO military coalition there. General Petraeus has noted that the Taliban are safely harbored in Pakistan, a nation into which the U.S. has poured billions to no obvious effect.

China is achieving hegemonic ambitions as its economy continues to grow, keeping Japan on edge and manipulating North Korea, always a potential trigger for conflict. While many see it as a military enemy, its real strength is the enormous U.S. debt it owns in the form of our treasury securities. Its human rights record is dismal and it continues to hold a recent Nobel Peace Prize winner in jail.

Europe is only just beginning to recognize the threat posed by a huge population of Muslims in its midst. Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has recently declared that “multiculturalism has failed.” In France, there are areas in its cities that are “no go” zones controlled by their Muslim population and this is true in other European cities as well. In England, the most popular name for new baby boys is Mohammed!

South America is a patchwork quilt of nations either friendly to the U.S. or led by communists like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez who continues to seek alliances with Russia, Iran, and South American neighbor states.

A visit to a website of Freedom House.org provides a map illustrating that much of the world; in particular Russia, China, the Middle East and large portions of Africa do not offer any freedom to their vast populations.

Foreign relations are a duty allocated to the president of the United States. The midterm elections which are mostly about domestic issues will not likely affect the policies of the remaining two years of President Obama’s first and hopefully last term. He is weak on Middle Eastern affairs, seemingly indifferent to Mexico and illegal immigration issues, and has alienated many leaders in Europe.

A fragile U.S. economy and, in particular, its dollar, leaves America vulnerable to its enemies.

Depending on the outcome of the midterm elections, we may either see an energized Republican Party, supported by the Tea Party movement, take dramatic efforts to end wasteful spending, repeal Obamacare, and ensure the Bush tax cuts do not expire, or we will enter upon a period of political gridlock and compromise that will endanger the nation’s future in ways that defy the imagination.

© Alan Caruba, 2010

8 comments:

LarryOldtimer said...

Because we abandoned our mining and manufacturing economy for a "service" economy back in the 1970s, we have become dependent on other nations for a great many of the material goods we purchase and have to have. It was we, the American people, who ended up getting "serviced".

China controls 97% of rare earth minerals as of now, and these minerals are vital for the manufacture of high tech equipment we now can not do without.

Even our military is dependent on foreign nations for spare parts for much of its equipment, and spare parts are absolutely necessary to keep that equipment functional. Reverse engineering is a long and expensive process, as is set up of any large manufacturing or mining process.

It is indeed a dangerous world we Americans now live in. We have become very dependent on other nations for all too many things of vital importance, and some of those nations are not in the least bit friendly, or could quickly become completely disrupted.

For Americans, the outlook is the most dismal I have ever seen it, and that includes the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Great leadership and positive direction is what Americans need right now, and I see almost none of that even waiting in the wings.

A nation divided against itself can not stand, and the US has not just become divided, it has become fragmented by special interest groups.

Robert B. said...

Mine baby, mine!

Alan Caruba said...

@Robert:
What does your comment mean? Is it a response to LarryOldtime or me, another old timer who is looking around the world and seeing trouble brewing.

Legal Sodium said...

i think he means as in "drill, baby, drill!!"

Alan Caruba said...

@Legal: Either way, I'm for it!

LarryOldtimer said...

I took the comment as in "it's time to begin mining again, on a large scale". And I do agree with that. However, there are so many obstacles, which are greatly costly, forced on mining companies, and so many permissions that have to be obtained, that it has become virtually impossible to open a new mine in the US.

I would suggest that anyone take a good look at our use of lithium. Lithium batteries (or cells) are in all sorts of our high tech devices, and we would be hard pressed to do without it. Yet, no lithium is produced in the US. Worse yet, there is no significant effort to recycle the lithium from spent lithium batteries.

Here is a place that our government could be of use, that is, requiring that a say 50 cent refundable deposit be required on each lithium battery. This would strongly encourage the recycling of lithium batteries. Private industry should be who works out exactly how to go about handling the refunds, not government. The overall costs would be relatively small, but some bother on rare occasions for individuals, and certainly some bother for retail establishments constantly. In the aggregate, it would really create new jobs.

This would significantly reduce our importation of lithium from other nations if, and only if, the recovery of the lithium were done here in the US, and if new lithium batteries were made here in the US. To my knowledge, there are no lithium batteries being manufactured in this country.

Just throwing spent lithium batteries in the trash to be placed in landfills or where ever is insane. Yet we go on doing it.

This is a case where government can not possibly be effective, by regulation, of controlling how individuals dispose of the spent batteries. But money talks.

Sensible government regulations work for us, government control never does.

Alan Caruba said...

How's this for timing? I write about a dangerous world and the next thing you know, al Qaeda (Yemen branch office) is sending us explosives.

Spooky.

cmblake6 said...

I'm sorry, but the only practical option I can see is to turn that entire geographical area into a giant radioactive fishbowl.

The insanity must stop, and the only way it will stop is total annihilation.