Sunday, September 19, 2010

The 9/11 overkill

I attended Yom Kippur at a Jewish temple and pretty much told them what Nicholas Christoff is saying, in the NY Times, "Many Americans believe that Osama bin Laden is representative of Muslims, and many Afghans believe that the Rev. Terry Jones (who talked about burning Korans) is representative of Christians."
The one thing that I meant to say and ran out of time was that I find this whole business of "how come I don't hear Muslims condemning 9/11", to be pretty offensive. There are many,many Muslims and Muslim organisations who have condemned 9/11, but there seems to be this insatiable thirst to hear each and every Muslim not only condemn but also to apologise for 9/11.
This is what is offensive, Muslim as a whole have been judged to be guilty and the onus has been placed on them to prove themselves innocent, individual by individual until all 1.5 billion have taken an oath and even then they will be accused of being secret sympathisers. I do condemn the 9/11 attack and still do if the opportunity is there but nine years later the world has moved on and a lot worse has happenned in the world than 9/11. So many things that need to be condemned and protested and fought against but Americans are not used to terrorism at home. Their tragedy is felt more deeply than any other tragedy even if the other tragedy was a million times worse, even if the Americans were responsible for causing the other tragedy.
It is like the rich man who can afford to mourn the loss of his child in the grandest possible way, year after year and totally inconsolably, when the poor man who has lost ten children, has to just grin and bear it and move on with his life and deal with the issues of those that some how survived.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is the present economic crisis being underestimated?

The question is not that the facts are unknown or are being underestimated by the Government; the question is whether the Government knows what the solution is and whether they have the courage to administer the bitter pill or pills that are needed to redress the problem.

Part of the solutions can be,

• Cut entitlements ( Social Security etc)
• Raise Taxes
• Withdraw troops from foreign adventures and cut the Defense budget
• Cut the size of the Government
• Raise Productivity and live with high unemployment for some time.
• Encourage increased savings instead of encouraging spending.
• Stop printing money, that is not backed by productivity
• Stop the waste within the Economy specially relating to energy.
• Increase the Exports of the country and reduce reliance on imports

Out of these, the Government is doing the following,

• Phasing out troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and avoiding attacking Iran.
• Considering increasing taxes on the rich by allowing Bush tax cuts to expire on the segment.
• Savings is going up.
• Encouraging China to revalue the Yuan.

One of the areas where costs will go up is the Health Care reform which is still a captive of the Insurance Industry and Premiums will go up.
The biggest failures of America are, not owning up to its mistakes. This is typical of declining powers and in fact this is why they decline, because it is not until you own up to your mistakes that you can correct them.

The two biggest mistakes to recognize are,

1. US Foreign policy relating to oil hegemony has been deeply flawed. The Middle East policy relating to Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and now Afghanistan/Pakistan has cost trillions and has backfired miserably.

2. The excesses of Capitalism are at the core of the most recent Economic collapse and not only are the guilty going unpunished but they are being given a second chance to try again.

Colonizers and Empires work on the reverse Robin Hood Principle and that is to rob the poor and the weak in order to make the rich, richer. The US has been both an Empire and a colonizer and the absence of revenues or privileges from withdrawing from this role, will add to the Economic burden of trying to make an honest living.
The political gridlock between those who believe that if dishonesty succeeded in the past there is no reason to change course now and those who can see that world dynamics have changed for good will prevent any meaningful solution to come forward. America has no stomach for a national government, even if there is an emergency.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why is Islam receiving so much importance?

Why are people (non Muslims) giving so much importance to Islam? Why are they going out of their way to malign and demonise it? My answer is that this aspect has very little to do with Islam. The Muslims by themselves are backwords, powerless, divided, easily colonised or occupied and pose no significant threat to any one particularly the West. Yet we find, discussions about Islam dominate the media and Islam has overtaken the Soviet Union as the biggest threat to world peace and wellbeing. Pakistan has become the most dangerous country in the world. Surely, this concern with Islam or making it "the enemy" cannot be because a man sitting in a cave in one of the poorest countries in the world, issued some fatwas against the West or committed a daring act of terrorism in New York City.

If Islam has no role in deserving this importance then why have people become so crazy about it? I believe the answer lies in the oil that is almost the exclusive property of Muslims. Given below is a table of Oil reserves ( top 10 countries)from Wikepedia.

( Numbers show Millions of barrels per day)
Saudi Arabia 267
Canada 179
Iran 138
Iraq 115
Kuwait 104
Venezuela 99
UAE 98
Russia 60
Libya 41
Nigeria 36

This shows that amongst the top ten countries, Muslim countries have 70% of the world’s oil reserves. The non Muslim countries with oil are Canada, Russia and Venezuela. This might also partly answer your earlier question about the first Iraq war. If Saddam had occupied Kuwait , the oil reserves under his control would have been almost as big as Saudi Arabia.
Unwittingly, Muslim countries have gained an importance way beyond their position as movers and shakers of the world. There was a time not so long ago that Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were all under the control of the West. However recently Iran and Iraq have both spun out of the control of the West,causing great alarm. Not only have they spun out of control but under Saddam and the Ayatollahs they were under the control of governments considered hostile to the West.

I am not telling you anything that you do not know, nor do I wish to belabour that point but we tend to forget in these discussions that Religion alone is not driving the current "crisis".

There is a very clear strategy that the US has to protest its “interests" in the world, but this strategy under Bush was so idiotic that it has backfired and now alarm is giving in to panic. In fact the rise of the BRIC countries and the simultaneous military and economic decline of the US is unpalatable to the American right wing and they have a need to create one or more scape goats. This is where the interests of the Christian right wing and the Zionists are coinciding. The Zionists are also panicking because there is a greater urgency under Obama to resolve the Israel/ Palestine issue. This issue cannot be resolved by Obama but the Zionists are not used to so much pressure being put on them.

Again, I apologise if I am emphasising the obvious, but the US media is particularly bad in not telling the whole story. I am very tempted to also expound upon where this is all going but that is the subject of this blog, A New World.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Islam is not responsible for 9/11

There is a time to show magnanimity and there is a time to stand your ground. In my view this is the time to stand your ground. There are false accusations being hurled at all Muslims and if Muslims as a minority are inclined to be pushed around and appease the screaming mobs then they will never be respected.
America respects those who stand up and refuse to be intimidated. Nine Eleven had nothing to do with Islam and that has to be made clear. Americas problems are with Alqaida and not Islam although vested interests keep dragging Islam into this issue. For this very reason the entire Muslim world thinks that America is fighting a war against Islam. The act of every Muslim is blamed on all of Islam. Islam is being maligned by a calculated strategy of certain lobbies and the more Muslims cow down to these lobbies, the more they will be humiliated. The Koch brothers are bankrolling the entire Tea Party drive in this matter. This matter is more complicated than appears on the surface. The Muslims never had a better case than the Cordoba project. Their project is approved, they are not building just a mosque and it is being done by a man who is widely respected and considered to be balanced. If we cannot support something this solid, then what will we support?

Still Imam Feisal has a difficult decision on his hands. I disagree with those who think that all the publicity has done more harm than good. A discussion on Islam is badly needed in this country. There is too much misinformation around both about Islam and about who is responsible for 9/11. A lot of healthy debate has come about presenting various thoughts on both subjects.
I do agree that this matter has the potential for getting out of hand. My concern is not that some Islamic fundamentlalist will create a situation ( although that can happen) but that other lobbies can also "create" situations which will show up Islam in a bad light.
There are parallel political agendas going on, such as embarrasing Obama and gaining votes by appealing to the insecurtity of Americans. Once we are past November, one can breath easy but until then, the situation is full of risks.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Church and State

I am not advocating Theocracy. In fact the worst form of a Religious State today is not Iran but Saudi Arabia followed by Israel, both of which are not run by the clergy. I am simply stating that I am not a fan of Secularism based on where I see it headed. In my mind secularism is not the holy grail of good governance. Perhaps the US is a bad example of an ideal secularist state in which case I have less reason to be concerned. I also understand that here I am in a minority amongst my group, who have for good reason grown tired of Religious people.

For the moment Secularism seems to be the better of two evils but there is a third alternate. Take Turkey, it is a Muslim country which believes that freedom of Religion should be allowed or Ireland which is a Catholic Country that believes in freedom of Religion. Clearly freedom of religion is not a secularist monopoly and that is my point.

There is a lot that we can learn from secularism and it stands as a bulwark, so far, against religious extremism but in many cases it is morphing into a religion in itself and France is a good example of treating Secularism as its official religion.

My last and most important point is that mankind's biggest challenge is, has always been and will always be to tread a moral path in the conduct of his life. The morality of secularism based on double standards, might is right, racial inequality and other shortcomings of self interest is not a good goal to pursue. We will and must fall back on the morality of God, which is the morality of self accountability based on faith. Unfortunately neither system has proven to be sustainable in the long run. The tussle between man made morality and God's morality is built into the system to be an eternal struggle.