Tag Archives: Arab Spring

Will Knowledge Explosion Lead to Peace…or War?

snowden
Some ask why prognosticators predict war over peace, as if it is blindly an easier and more provocative path to predict, rather than the harder path to achieve of world peace.

The answer lies in the historical pattern of power transitions between nations. While the world superpower period that we are in is unprecedented, regional superpower, empire, and hegemonic patterns are fairly well defined. As such, we are entering what historically has been the final phase of a hegemony, when a competing power grows powerful enough to wage war.

Hegemonies typically last for 3 to 5 generations. We are in the last generations historically of our hegemony. China already has way more people, acceptable manufacturing capacity, burgeoning technological ability, growing military strength, and a breadth of neocolonial trading relationships. The pattern for emerging war within a generation is concentrating.

Historically, when a nation emerges to wield similar capacities as the World’s dominant nation, and is not happy with the world’s economic and political systems that are designed to benefit the dominant nation, it sets the stage for war. The emerging nation attempts to bend the economic system their way, is met with opposing force of the dominant nation, and conflict erupts.

China is winning ground on all fronts. So, examining the historical patterns, the phase of our hegemony and China’s transition, and the pattern of conflict that has occurred consistently over the past millennium, some predict military conflict in the future.

A couple of trends oppose a classical war transition. One is the size of hegemonies involved. The U.S., being the most powerful hegemony that has ever existed, then requires a competitor to extend their capacity for war to unprecedented levels. Yet, China has been highly successful in gutting our military manufacturing capacity, which actually creates a more unstable environment that could lead to war simply because it equalizes power more quickly.

Another has been the resolve by which America pursues protection of hegemonic resources such as oil in the Middle East. Yet, our ten year wars have drawn us into the same economic drain that took down the Soviet Union. China, on the other hand, has been successful in creating new trading arrangements that circumvent the dollar as oil trading currency. These trends ultimately will prove the axiom of the taller you are the harder you fall, for as the greatest hegemony in history, America will fall the farthest if knocked down from our pedestal.

One hopeful trend that I discussed a few posts earlier is that the world is on the vertical slope of the information age, and gains in knowledge are progressing at light speed. It was hopeful that that Arab Spring was born from social media. The world’s citizens are connecting through the internet and are beginning to break down nationalist prejudices. There is the potential that people throughout the world will choose peace through knowledge.

Yet, history has shown that increased knowledge leads to military superiority, which leads to a higher probability of war if gained by the opposing force of the hegemony. This leads us back to why both China and the United States are attempting to fly up the vertical path of the world’s knowledge explosion to gain the upper hand. Hence, we have seen, thanks to folks like Snowden, the massive buildup of knowledge processing capacity by the NSA.

If mankind will make the leap toward removing worldwide bigoted barriers through an explosion of knowledge sharing, then Snowden will have earned a historical place as a true hero of world civilization. If, however, mankind follows our consistent historical pattern of technical superiority leading to armed conflict, then Snowden will be recorded by world history to have been simply another crack in the dyke of America’s hegemony giving way to war.

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Filed under American Governance, China, National Security, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory, War

The Constitution Creates an Abundance of Alpha-ness

lionsAt every age, there have been the elite, those the control the majority of the world’s wealth and power, as it is defined by the time. Since it has been this way from the dawn of time, it must be a natural law. And just like, in every lion pack, the alpha male rises from obscurity, challenges another for his role, lives to dominate for a time, and then is driven from his power and perks, so it has been in the human kingdom.

Now with our species, this rivalry and domination ritual comes with the downside of killing masses for the pleasure of feeding one’s instinctual urges. The majority of us find ways to satisfy our domination traits without having to kill. We would rather live out our lives in relative peace than to have to take up arms for the supreme alpha. Yet, throughout recorded history, there have been those that have ridden in packs on chariots with swords and spears and atomic weapons to beat their chests and roar down at their fallen opponents.

In 1789, some very bright aristocrats came together and noted that this instinctive ritual of death might be halted if we could freeze the motive and drive in animation. They recognized that wealth is but one way for man to show his dominance and that freedom is the ultimate display of alpha-ness. If we are all masters of our own domain, we do not have to necessarily dominate another’s.

The Constitution froze this power sharing in place to allow all to hopefully forever manage their own motives free from the bondages of others, whether they be in the majority or minorities in their thoughts. However. it also recognized a massive power that contained an evil which must be broken in the future, slavery.

Slavery not only denied alpha-ness to millions of people, it was also the major source of wealth in the nation at the time, and one built on an immoral principle. Every man in that chamber in Philadelphia knew that the foundation of this Constitution was built atop a base of sandy soil and that without addressing slavery, it had no real chance of eternal survival. Still the decision to address it head on was delayed for 50 years.

That power and wealth was not to be redistributed without a civil war and bloodshed of 620,000 Americans. We now have a situation through which the power and wealth sharing envisioned by the Constitution has been thwarted by the elite. My hope is that it can be returned to a balance of suspended animation without the bloodshed that usually has accompanied such shifts throughout recorded time.

It took 72 years for our predecessors to decide that the power to eradicate slavery power and wealth misalignment could only be shifted by a bloody civil war. Rather than go through such a three generation cycle that seems to be the course of such radicalism, my belief is that the power to regain stability in America rests with the voice and the vote.

We now have the power of social media democracy as was demonstrated not only in Barach Obama’s harnessing of its power within conventional politics, but also in the Arab Spring. This medium will find its way toward supplying the engine for power restructuring for America’s future prosperity as well. It is the engine that will be needed to overcome such a powerful adversary as wealth. Yet combined with the simple tool of the Constitution, it has the ability to reverse our course and to create the symbiotic power sharing stability once envisioned by our forefathers.

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Filed under American Governance, American Media, American Politics, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory, War

Washington and America’s Media Elite Would be Wise not to Dismiss “Occupy Wall Street”

Washington’s elitism was palpable this week. Political pundits smugly interviewed “Occupy Wall Street” participants, trapping them in contradictions to demonstrate their lack of knowledge and organization surrounding the issues, while Washington’s political leaders either dodged association or overtly condemned their sit-ins and disruptiveness. Our media elites’ condescension suggested an inept disconnect with Middle America, baring its biased attraction to Washington’s’ political power for all to see. While America doesn’t yet know what to think of this awkward beginning of a political movement, 30 million underemployed citizens are not as ready as Washington’s elite to dismiss its credibility.

During the Egyptian revolution, cardboard signs touting the words “A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition” were held by some demonstrators. A.N.S.W.E.R. is a U.S. based, blanket group of anti war organizations, mostly anti-imperialist, Muslim, Arab and Latin America focused, initiated by the activist group, International Action Center (IAC), and founded by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark that opposes all U.S. military interventions, and by the Workers World Party (WWP), a U.S. based Marxist-Leninist organization closely associated with IAC that strongly supports communist states. It is this same group that organized the Occupy Wall Street rally that has continued as a sit-in for the past two weeks.

Notwithstanding the fact that this rally was envisioned by Marxists, and is now attempting to be co-opted by union organizers and some in the Democratic Party for their own purposes, this nascent movement is beginning to gain strength and a voice of concern over the connection between Wall Street, Washington, and our citizens’ resulting lack of representation to fix America.

Occupy Wall Street’s awkward missteps and disarray have been correctly assessed by our political and media elite as an early snap shot of a group that has no leadership and little clarity of message. When interviewed, its participants have seemed inarticulate with skewed and contradictory messages. Yet, there they sit camped out and building the articulation and clarity that will slowly incite others to join them.

It would do well for those so inclined to publicly disparage Wall Street’s occupation to revisit the humble beginnings of the Arab Spring, a movement that was directly tied to the same worldwide economic calamity. Some say the Arab Spring was influenced by local political dissident groups while others have gone as far as to claim that it was inspired and manipulated by America’s national security forces to disrupt the region. Most believe that decades of impoverishment spurred by the West’s economic collapse caused unbearable economic conditions that finally reacted to the spark of a single street vendor lighting himself on fire as the kindling of a disorganized, organic, and leaderless movement that erupted into a flame, ending in the overthrow of multiple oppressive governments.

On December 19, 2010, Moahamed Bouazizi, one of the 30 percent of jobless college graduates in Tunisia, was attempting to feed his family by selling vegetables in the street when Police seized his cart. In desperation, he set himself on fire and later died. At this point in the Arab Spring, only a few hundred completely disorganized young Tunisians took to the streets to protest police actions. Some voiced an opaque anger over unemployment and a few others smashed some windows and cars. The protest, however, was generally peaceful.

However, ten days later on December 29th, the bit slow to react Tunisian President, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali addressed his nation promising more jobs but vowing to crack down on the protesters, who by this time had grown to about the size of the 1,000 Occupy Wall Streeters. Still disorganized, a few protesters reacted by chanting for the President not to seek re-election in 2014. A multitude of social ills being voiced began to coalesce around the unemployment that plagued young Tunisians.

On January 2nd, a different catalyst sparked demonstrations in Egypt when a terrorist bomb blew up outside of a Coptic Christian church killing 21. In Algiers, 5 days later, protesters took to the streets over a completely different issue, high food prices. Looking back at how these disparate bands of protestors merged into the Arab Spring to overthrow them, these country’s leaders most surely would have subdued their arrogant dismissals and defiance that spread the movement to other cities. On January 9th, police killed 11 people in Tunisia and 3 in Algeria. In the frenzy, American media could only note the demonstrators’ disorganized voices speaking out against a lack of jobs and a host of other social ills, but had yet to fully comprehend the accelerating revolution.

On January 14th, similarly to Eric Canter’s seemingly ignorant grasp of world events that fed his derisive comments this weekend condemning “Occupy Wall Streeters” and their supporters, Libyan President Muammar Gaddaffi issued his first defiant condemnation of the protesters in Tunisia and Algeria, signaling the ill fated stances he would later take rather than addressing his country’s ills as a statesman. That same day, the Tunisian president fled his country for Saudi Arabia.

On January 13th in Algeria and on January 17th in Egypt, men copied Tunisia’s now martyred street vendor and set themselves on fire prompting Egypt’s Nobel Peace prize winner El Baradei to call on his nation’s leaders to take prompt action to avert a catastrophe. While being careful not to lend his political support to the movement, he nonetheless beseeched his nation’s politically elite to implement urgent reforms, claiming that Egypt was “yearning desperately for economic and social change” and that without drastic measures, Egypt would experience a “Tunisia-style explosion”. Grassroots activists surpassed El Baradei saying “This is not just about creating a clean parliament and a fair Presidency, it’s about the daily bread and butter of the Egyptian people.”

On January 25th, opposition groups organized protests similar to “Occupy Wall Street”. Certainly because of regime change in Tunisia on January 14th, they now had the surge of realization that they too might replace their own corrupt regimes, yet they still had no realization of their efforts. “We hope it will be big, very big” said Ahmed Salah, one of the demonstration organizers. “The people move for democracy – not for religion, not for elite interests, not for private loyalties.” He denounced the politically elite’s spin of the movement as a choice between Mubarak’s oppression or religious fundamentalism, claiming theirs was a “false choice”

The American people instinctively know that Wall Street organized and implemented a historic transfer of wealth to the East that now holds most of America hostage in the grip of punishing debt. Americans’ collective wisdom also knows that our politicians bent to the will of the financially powerful and created legislative loop holes for their corporate and banking contributors. While the occupiers of Wall Street are not yet able to articulate it, their gut feels inspired enough to camp out leaderlessly as they search for a coherent voice.

America will not experience a regime change such as the Arab Spring. But given the Obama ground swell in 2008 and the Tea Party revolution of 2012, is it really beyond belief that with 30 million disaffected, underemployed Americans desperate for direction out of our morass that this social media movement could also swell into a 2012 election tsunami? Those that would arrogantly dismiss Occupy Wall Street based on a current snap shot of its disorganization should look again to the timeline of the Arab Spring and wisely recalibrate their thinking.

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Filed under American Media, American Politics, Economic Crisis, Social Media Democracy, social trajectory