The calapse of the Soviet Union was hailed as a great victory, something nobody would deny. The Soviets were our strongest enemy, and the greatest enemy of Democracy around the globe. The threat to America's survival from the end of World War II until the day it finally collapsed cannot be understated. There was a constant chance that a nuclear war could be launched in which nobody in either country would survive. Therein lies the partnership, you see, as much as the Soviet Union did that was against our interests, they were at least somewhat rationale. Countries all over the world took sides in this "Cold War", which resulted in one or the other of us having some measure of control over said countries. Things have drastically changed, and some would argue that as bad as we wanted the cold war with the Soviets to end, it may have actually made our country less safe. This article is a complete editorial. I am no expert and this is just my opinion on things, by no means take this as a serious assessment, I didn't do a lot of research other then me reading 3-5 newspaper and magazine articles per day. I am not citing any sources, just going from memory and my personal beliefs. The opinions reflected in this article do not reflect on this great website, they are my own. Lastly I'd like to apologize for the seriousness of this article, normally this is a place for anything but, but even us maniacs are capable of being frightened by the world around us.
As we stand right now, in the shadow of these events, the geopolitical landscape is more muddled and confusing then ever before. The end of the Soviet Union ended the umbrella of protection for rogue regimes that they supported in the past. Again, there is no one for them to answer to now, there is just one super power, and nobody in the world wants that. We are the enemy, how ever you want to slice it up, to many countries around the world that don't share our beliefs. People, even in our own country, hate a winner and love to see them fail and fall. The United States of America is the most successful country the world has ever known. We give the most money and help to other countries as shown with the Tsunami in Indonesia and the recent earthquake in Pakistan. American's are generous and we are helpful, we want a better world. There is some thought that we push our values on others, but the fact is that our system is the best, hands down. No doubt we have our problems and that system needs tweaked, but the fundamentals of a market economy and a representative government are good for all countries. Communism, Socialism and Dictatorships have shown time and time again that they are doomed to failure. Unfortunately those in power in these 3 systems will do whatever they can to hold on to it, specifically painting the United States as their enemy who wants to control the world, but we do not, we help to build the world. Look at the case of Germany and Japan. With our allies we won wars against both of them and helped them build their countries into two of the most prosperous countries in the world. Where empires of the past would take over a country and occupy it as their own, taking their resources and enslaving their people, the United States fosters democracies and helps to write constitutions, but yet all this is lost on the greater world. Where we used to have one enemy we now have many. Where we used to be concerned about the conventional war, or nuclear war, now war can come in any shape and form. The age of terror truly is upon us and I personally think it will get worse before it gets better for the simple fact that not even our allies, or even our own people can recognize the peril that we are in. Our enemies want to destroy us, they hate everything about our way of life and they will take as long as it takes, and spend as many lives as necessary to accomplish that goal.
Among the global hot spots, first and foremost is Iran and their aspirations to be the dominant power in the middle east. Their president believes that the apocalypse is coming soon and that it will be followed by the return of the Mahdi, a great religious leader who will bring prosperity to Muslims, but only Muslims. Non believers have no chance in this man's world, we are doomed to death. Why is it that we do not believe this man when he says that he wants the West defeated, that if we don't convert to Islam we will be destroyed, that he wants Israel to be "wiped off the map". He acts calm in international forums, blaming the US for our hostile policies but then he tells his own people something entirely different, as if the world isn't listening. The world is listening they just don't seem to care. They supply weapons and training to insurgents in Iraq and to Hamas fighting in the Palestinian territories. Most of all they control Hezbollah, and use it as a proxy army against Israel. Lebanon is a democratic state, a new democracy, and the Iranian leadership will do whatever they can to destroy this and replace it with Islamic law. I don't want to get into what I think is wrong with Islam. I think it is a peaceful religion but the representation right now is violent and against anyone not like them and not giving in to what they want. This is fascism much like Adolf Hitler preached. In my mind all religions believe in the same god and have the same fundamental values, but not these fanatics. They believe that the whole world must bow down to Islam, there is not room for infidels, which to them is everyone else. Yes, the main problem here is that the middle east controls most of the known oil reserves, something we have based our whole economy and way of life on. For all the talk there really doesn't seem to be anyway to negotiate with the Iranian leadership, they have been an enemy of the US for some time, and are not about to stop now, it's what their whole leadership position is based on.
North Korea has nuclear weapons and waves them around threatening others, thinking that gets them international prestige, it does not. Responsible nations feed their people instead of letting millions of them starve instead of buying and building weapons to threaten their neighbors. One of the worst famines in modern history happened in the not too distant past in N. Korea, while their dictator drank cognac and ate lobster, relishing in all the fruits of his command, not caring about his people, but only his position. Our leadership in this country has said that we have no intention of attacking them, yet they still use the "American Devil" as the reason they build these weapons and continue with their hostile policies. It is one of the most closed off, and quite honestly delusional, countries in the world today. They threaten us and threaten us despite the fact that militarily we would crush them, but we don't choose to, we try to negotiate, we tell him we will not invade. Here again is an example of a regime that finds in sole power in keeping the United States as an enemy, to rally the people. It is a backwards, confusing policy, but the N. Koreans know nothing but what their "Dear Leader", as he prefers to be called, tells them.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has based his whole presidency on anti-Americanism, to the detriment of his actual people. It amazes me that most of the world can hear these brutal leaders deriding America as a destructive empire without actually looking at the country the statements are coming from and seeing how terribly they are run. That country has rampant poverty and some of the worst, most evil street gangs the world knows. Crime runs rampant, and the people starve and live in shanty towns still. Chavez has done nothing to help his own country, despite the promises he made when he was elected. At the UN he even went as far as calling our president, love him or hate him, "the devil". He said that at the fucking UN on our soil. Whether you like Bush or not this was unacceptable, He is still our president, we elected him. Meanwhile Chavez is flush with petro-dollars that we give him, emboldening him to act the way he does. We pay for his whole country to run and then he doesn't miss a beat to insult us, it's ridiculous. He pays other countries, supplying oil to them to gain political influence in South America and abroad while people in his own country starve and the streets rot away, the infrastructure gets poorer and poorer, all to be a thorn in the side of America. It honestly makes no sense to me and that is why I am writing this, in the hope that I can understand the irrationality of holding one man up as trying to fight imperialism, when it's clear to see that the whole reason he is doing it is so he can be and imperialist, and have influence over a bunch of other countries. Yet the people still listen, it's easy to hate someone who does better then you, who succeeds.
Africa is flush with Al Quaeda, plotting attacks on the West. The African strongmen governments are some of the worst in the history of the world. The most brutal acts are taking place in Africa right now. There is no worse place in the world then parts of that continent, they rape and pillage with no regard, killing babies and making little kids fight wars for them. I'm saying that without actually having been there I admit, but everything I've ever seen on the news and in articles is a barbaric minority that will not hesitate to completely destroy someone who is not different then themselves, except that they are part of a different tribe. It is hard to understand as an American where despite there still being some inequalities that we are working through, they are minor and we truly try to treat everyone equal, to give everyone the same rights. It is hard to fathom what causes men to become such savages, simply to control a piece of land. Absolutely terrible, I don't even know where to begin, but I do know that Africa is going to explode into uncontrollable violence one day, if it hasn't already.
Lastly we are back to Russia, where it is claimed that democracy and free markets are flourishing, but yet president Putin, former KGB officer, continues the slide back into communism. For those that haven't been paying attention, quite a few Putin critics have been murdered in the last couple years. The most recent case being Alexander Litvinenko, a former high ranking government official and Putin critic, who was poisoned with a radioactive material. He was the first to call out Putin to blame for another recent killing, that of pro democracy journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in her home. Russia has not helped us in the least lately with any of the worlds problems. They continue to use energy as a political tool, and they have a lot of it. The fight us every step of the way in dealing with both Iran and North Korean, as they did with Iraq. On Iraq they were right about not wanting to use force, but the problem is that with them and the French protecting Saddam Hussein he wasn't willing to change his behavior in the least. It is widely known that he didn't think the US would attack because he thought Russia would protect him. He was wrong, but I can' help but think that the conflict could of been avoided had Russia not had so much economic interest their that they could of backed our moves. Now the same things could happen with Iran, they are getting nuclear weapons and need to be stopped, but Russia is not willing to do a thing to help us despite what they say. This saddens me the most because although throughout our history we have mostly been enemies, Russia to me seems like a natural ally. I really thought it could be somewhat of a brother country and we could help each other out and have a strategic partnership. It seems more and more like we are going to yet again become enemies. The Russian people seem like good people, who want what's best for their families, but there is a small group that still wants to dominate the world, at least it sure seems that way.
I can't begin to act like I have any answers as to how me move forward in this current climate, there are no easy ones. Therein lies the problem, it is just so complicated right now in the world for America that everything is uncertain, nothing is easy. During the Cold War we knew what to do, win. We didn't always know the exact details but we knew we had to grow and grow and become stronger and stronger to beat them and it worked. It was much more complicated then I am making it sound but the point is we knew where we stood in the world, we understood our enemy and we had a strategy to beat him. Today is a different world with numerous challenges that I can't begin to understand how to move forward. A lot of viewers of this site would say that we need peace, no more military engagement, peace at all costs. The problem is how to you make peace with fanatical enemies. The Islamic fascists see retreat as a weakness, much like they did in Mogadishu in the '90's. Despite the fact that I think we fought and succeeded against overwhelming odds we did pull out and that emboldened Al Quaeda to come as us even harder, resulting in 9/11. I want peace, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure we have any choice at this time, the choice seems to be fight and win, or lose. Who do we fight, no fucking idea here, there are so many enemies. One thing I can say for sure is that it is impossible for us to continue to rely on belligerent countries that hate our very existence for our energy needs. This should of been solved long ago and is the number one reason we are in such a difficult position. We pay the bills and help buy the weapons that can and probably will be used to kill our people, there is nothing more backwards then that. We need to take some of that power away from those countries and put it back into our own through a lowering of demand, more production at home, and ultimately by making carbon energy obsolete. It isn't easy, but to act like our leaders are idiots for not handling these challenges is a bit short sighted, there has never been a more hostile world towards the US, coming from so many different directions it is hard to know what came from where.
The second thing we can do is work hard to support Lebanon and also to build a Palestinian state beside Israel. Do I really think the middle eastern countries give a shit about Palestine, hell no, the Palestinians were treated terribly before Israel ever got there. I do know that is an excuse to hate Israel and the US, and the Palestinian people deserve a home. One thing we can't do is end our support for Israel like many in the region want us to. They paint Israel as the oppressor and them as the underdogs, but how can you be the bully when it is 6 on 1 or 10 on one. Israel is a democracy and we must support them, lest they would be destroyed, that would solve nothing. They deserve a state as well, many of the enemies of Israel forget that the Jews were born there, they are not foreigners, their home was taken from them and now they are back. The only way to move forward is for both sides to recognize this and move forward with a 2 state solution. In Lebanon and other fledgling democracies we have to lend our support. It is important, because representative governments with economic relations are much less likely to be enemies, we have to do our part to be a good friend to countries like these. All I can say is I believe in the American people, and I believe in our system. May we all survive and build a better world then when we got here, it's all we can do, it's a goal that is in front of us despite the complications. There is nothing more important then peace, I just hope we can get there without first having war.
@Copywrite June 2006 Prescott JohansonSend us your comments on this article