Donald Trump: Chew Bubblegum and Instill Fear

Donald Trump: Chew Bubblegum and Instill Fear

Why Americans, not just the GOP, have an inclination towards Strong-Men

I have been troubled recently, not by the efforts and words of some men, but by the reaction of many of my fellow Americans to the existence of the candidacies of those men. I am sure that while many Americans may feel that certain candidates are an ‘anomaly’ or ‘oddity’ in the political cycle the reality is, they are not. So I figured I would try to give some brief arguments for why Americans, not just “old, white Republicans who are angry and hatemongers” are finding themselves supporting Trump, or anyone else of similar ‘ill-quality.’

Fear of Foreign Nations

The beginning of our context as a country obviously begins before we were a nation, when we were still colonies of the North American portion of the British Empire. During the not-so-often discussed French and Indian War, the French paid for Native American tribes to make raids on the American colonies. From this beginning, we feared foreign nations would fund those who would seek our destruction.

Eventually the boogey-man became the British who not only fought us in the Revolution, but also attacked us in the War of 1812 and provided antagonism in the nation’s history all the way through the Civil War, when they contemplated recognition of the Confederacy.

The next State enemy came in the form of Spain, who during the lead up to the Spanish-American War of 1898, had been antagonizing Latin American states, particularly in South America. When things got heated in Cuba, and we assumed they attacked our ship, the USS Maine, Americans were immediately ready for the warpath, fearful and ready to fight an enemy they thought sought their destruction.

While Germany and Japan occupy the same threatening portion in history, that of World War II, the German and Japanese fear translated into a persecution of American citizens, something that wasn’t new for the period, but when examined from the present, seems an outlier in behavior. I will discuss the fear of Immigrants later, but the Japanese internment was not an ‘isolated incident.’

The most recent span of Enemy State fears comes from the Cold War, the animosity Americans have for the Russians, Iranians, and Chinese. The Soviet Union/Russian Federation is pretty easy to explain, given the fact that we know the Soviet Union aided Vietnam War protestors, and today the Russian Federation aids Nationalist organizations in Europe, and Conspiracy groups in America. The Iranians play to our fear of death and nuclear destruction. As for the Chinese, they occupy the threat to our economy, and while the threat isn’t quite loud yet, I would argue it is building and will continue to build as the years go on.

Fear of Dis-similar Immigrants

The story of American animosity towards immigrants begins with the post-Revolution fear that Papists would betray the country. Almost immediately after the Founders won the war of Independence, fears of Catholic immigrants from France and Spain, and the Catholic citizens, primarily in Maryland, were going to betray the nation, took heart. This created the animosity towards “different” immigrants that we often see towards Mexicans and Muslims today.

In the 1800s, fear of the Catholic European exacerbated when poorer Catholic migrants began coming over, predominantly from Ireland, Germany, and Italian, these immigrants were not only perceived as eminent threats because of their religion, but because of the fact many were poor. Later, when the Chinese and Koreans began immigrating, hostility to them occurred because they looked different, spoke unknown tongues, and weren’t Christian.

At the turn of the century, as Russian began its decline, the flight of Eastern Europeans saw similar amounts of ethnic and religious hatred because Russian or Greek Orthodoxy, in either form seemed at all similar to at least Catholicism or Protestantism.

Today that fear of Immigrants is placed on two groups, Mexicans and Muslims. Muslim immigrants are feared because they speak differently, appear and dress differently, and believe in Islam. Mexicans are viewed less hostile nationally, but still economically threatening because they “undercut the American citizen’s ability to hold a job.” Whether the arguments are real or not, the fears are real. Which is why our Economy is vital to this problem.

Weak Economies Drive Social Policy

Despite Political Elite and their best efforts to deny reality outside of Washington DC and New York City, most of the nation suffers from a rather weak and frustrating economic situation. In many locations, jobs are at lows still compared to years before the Great Recession. Whether the President has fault in the trigger and immediate aftermath of the Recession, he is seen as having blame, along with the GOP and Democrat establishment in the lack of recovery in the seven years since.

When people are frustrated, as they were in months after the Revolutionary War, during the Great Depression in Germany and America, people seek to alleviate their struggle economically by blaming someone. It’s a bread and circuses effect, when the people can eat and enjoy their lives, no one has to suffer to appease the population.

Law and Order as Social Policies

As it was with Reagan’s Drug War, when there are perceived threats to safety, in hard economic times, the people usually turn to government for it to punish behavior they feel wrong. The rise in the desire to vet our refugees, like those demanding we vet gun owners, comes from the same territory that saw us want to punish drug dealers for putting kids in hospital beds. The rise in reducing and eliminating illegal immigration comes from the same place that saw us demand the Patriot Act to eliminate terrorists before they commit another 9/11.

We, as a population, demand leaders and policies from those leaders that will reinforce our strength when we are in times of hardship because we believe the hardship has come from our lenience for social grievances and abuses. I would accuse those who seek to punish bakeries for denying services are the same as those who want to punish businesses who employ illegal immigrants.

Why Trump Appeals to Americans is Simple

Americans aren’t willing to trade all of their civil liberties, and they want to protect themselves because they know government won’t be able to, but Americans have a history of showing themselves acceptable with domestic violations of the Constitution if the man in power is doing the right thing. And this is why Trump is popular to Americans, he says the right thing, he suggests doing the right thing, and he has people around him and supporting him saying he will do the right thing. Whether you think he will do the right thing doesn’t matter, what matters is that Americans believe he will do the right thing.

When you look at history, it’s clear to see why the GOP and Democrat leadership has lost control of the nation. Who would put faith in men and women who cannot make the population feel safe? Trump is rising because he talks about restoring America. He does not pretend it is doing well as some have. He says what the population is thinking.

Who Am I to Say These Things?

I live and work in DC, and I have had jobs where most would say the elite reside. However, I am from a small town in Illinois, a place of under 5000 people, where I know most people’s names and their families. And I know a handful of Trump supporters. Those folks are not the personified “Racist Redneck” that many would label as Trump supporters, they are financially reasonable, good folks who are genuinely scared of the current economic and political situation of America, and feel that their only choice to protect what they love is to give power to a man, who while appealing to the base instinct, appeals to their interest in restoring America’s position and power, and also their prosperity and safe homes.

Obviously, there are bad eggs in the Trump supporter basket, but just as we demand as Christians that people not let the Westboro Baptist Church define us, we should not let those who assault protesters, and commit violent crimes define the base supporter for Trump. We should pressure them when they wave off bad behavior of a candidate as acceptable, but my intention is not to castigate anyone, but to showcase that it is more culture than the cult of Trump that drives his support.

*I Submitted this to the Op-Ed Section of the New York Times, the 3-day ban on this content being posted has ended*

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History of Russian Space Aggression

History of Russian Space Aggression

So in my last major paper at school, I wrote a minor summary of Russian space history and made allusions to the theory of sea power when discussing space power.

I had the assistance of a good friend, and he is the co-author on this paper, and assisted me with converting the technical ideas into something easier to explain. I am posting it on this blog to be seen, as nothing I wrote in the paper is anything from classified or secretive sources, its all public information. Feel free to share it if you like. We realize that this paper is not a full review of the subject in that a book could be written on the subject. I think for future efforts, there is a wealth of knowledge to discuss Russian successes and failures, American successes and failures, current Space Policy of Russia, and the current (or rather lack thereof) Space Policy of America.

There is also plenty more to write on comparisons to Mahan’s theory, and the history that created Mahan’s theory, and how comparisons between sea power and space power
show that a need for a focus on the weaponization of space by rival states, such as Russia and China, is vital for the security of the American people.

For those interested, the link below is the PDF of the paper.
Space Power Theory

Notes on the President’s Address from 9/10 on Operations in Syria/Iraq against ISIS/ISIL

DIALOGUE DURING THE SPEECH I THINK IS IMPORTANT

Operations in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq
Combat mission will end later this year in Afghanistan, because America is safer
Evil exists, and groups have the capacity to do harm, before and after 9/11.
Radical groups in Africa/Middle East are threats.
Yemen operations have gone poorly, We didn’t do many operations in Iraq until recently, Afghanistan is turning south on us, and Somalia was just a pirate expedition and a propping up of one Warlord as “President of Somalia.”

ISIL/ISIS is NOT Islamic. It has been targeting Muslims.
ISIL/ISIS is NOT a State. It is a former terrorist government.
It isn’t recognized by other states or by its own citizens.
Merciless killers and executors of children. Slavers and Rapers of Women.
Commit Genocide on populations and executed two American journalists.
Obama is stating that ISIS/ISIL is an illegitimate government, a terror to everyone, as instability in the Middle East will affect Europe, Africa, and Asia. This will in turn affect Economic, Financial, Corporate, and American interests abroad, but also at home.

Threat to all Middle East; can grow to greater threat internationally. (Actual intention of ISIS/ISIL)
Thousands of foreigners and Americans have joined ISIS/ISIL. They could return home to do harm domestically. Many Americans are considered by them.
What are we going to do about these citizens who will do harm to us, Mr. President? No mention of action against them…also, there is a horrifying map on the Internet of ISIS/ISIL desired Caliphate. Ten Regions under it, from Morocco to India, from Ethiopia all the way to Crimea, and also containing possibly Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

Promises to meet these with strength.
Air Strikes have been done as the only military operation to this point. Have saved lives, seems to be the predominant reason to use air strikes.
Cannot use our own military force, because the President doesn’t want to use Hard Military Power. Claiming to meet with Congress and Allies. Wants to use Arab allies to fight. “Broad Coalition”
No mention of coalition partners or allied states with us. Iran isn’t Arab, its Persian, completely different ethnic groups. Air Strikes without combined arms of infantry or cavalry isn’t strength, it’s a stall tactic. Its true however, that stalling ISIS/ISIL advances will save lives, and allow for greater amounts of refugees to live, but also creates larger costs on Iraqi population because ISIS/ISIL will harm someone while being stalled in expansion.

Systematic Campaign of Air Strikes with Cooperation with Iraqi Government.
Hunt down any and all terrorists, meaning operations in Syria and Iraq. “No Safe Haven”
Increase support for allied combating forces. 200 + 475, so 675 military advisors to Iraqis and Kurds.
Deliberate difference between Kurdish and Iraqi forces. Emphasis on helping Sunni Populations.
I point out the difference between Kurd and Iraqi, because a two-state solution seems to be in the President’s sights. So apparently this is where the red line is, when Americans get executed. Good to know, for future terrorists during the remainder of the Obama administration. Still coming off as a diplomatic recovery from the last blundering on Syria. Aren’t all or most of the good guy Syrians dead in Aleppo, cause you know, they were bombed into high-heaven by the Syrian Air Force? Also, where will the military forces come from, if not from America? If we are truly focused on rescuing Sunni Muslims, we wouldn’t be using Iran, would we?

Calls on Congress to give permission to aid forces. Will not use Assad, because he has lost his legitimacy/credibility in his state and the region.
Continue to use counter-terrorism to prevent ISIL/ISIS attacks. Cut funding, fight the ideology, and curb the rise of foreigner fighters in the region.
Humanitarian assistance for refugees and displaced populations. For Sunnis, Shias, and Christians.
“Joined by a broad coalition of partners”
“Sharing intelligence and billions of dollars in humanitarian aid”
“Helping Syrian rebels and the Iraqi government”
“American leadership: We stand for those who fight for their own freedom by rousing for a common humanity and common cause.”
“Strongest as a nation when Congress and President work together.” This means he is invoking the War Powers Act as a possible dodge.
Every President until Obama called the War Powers Act (enacted after Vietnam) unconstitutional. This is a first step as it is a willful dereliction of responsibility in terms of the military by the Commander-in-Chief. Its one thing to stipulate you need Congress’ approval for war, but for even the 90 day sanctioned missions? Seems more like hesitancy to actually operate rather than a “FIRM COMMITMENT.” Also, who is this coalition, I mean Bush ruined the surprise for us back in dealing with Iraq, but the suspense is killing me. Also American Leadership is no longer Alexander the Great/Caesar style where we ride with our soldiers and allies, but is now the German General Staff version, where we sit in musty rooms and plot strategy, without regard to the brutality of the front. (That was a terrible jab) I guess I always liked my military commanders being brazen and not fearing the enemy.

How it will be different from Gulf War II: No American troops; use air power to eliminate ISIL/ISIS and support coalition forces (like in Yemen, Libya, and Somalia).
So we recognize that OCCUPATION isn’t a choice; but we aren’t sure as to what we want yet, so will just bomb everything…in a place where everything is getting bombed. Seems like a reliable strategy.

“Time of Great Change; 13 years since 9/11; 6 years since Great Recession; America is better positioned to seize the future. (Claims of Academic Excellence, Business Growth, and Strong Capitalism)
“Broad American leadership is the one constant in a chaotic world. Mobilize the will against terrorism, against Russian aggression, and for Ukrainian self-determination. Can use our know-how to fight Ebola; our knowledge to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapon supply; fighting for opportunity, tolerance, and hope.”
“Welcome responsibility to lead. We stand for freedom, dignity, and justice. Guiding values since founding.” (Commander-in-Chief evocation, despite insisting on Congressional action to operate this mission.)
“Our Security is dependent on doing what it takes to protect the nation, and standing for our values, and opposing those who foment hate.”
Trying to use the Nationalist urge of 9/11 and the Great Recession. However, seems hilarious coming from a very non-Nationalist President. Once again, broad leadership from behind the frontlines will carry the day. Especially against Russia in Ukraine (WHAT?), against Ebola (WHAT?), against Syria and its Chemical Weapons (WHAT?). I say what, because Stone Cold Steve Austin would do it when he smelled a BS-line from another wrestler. Yes it’s a mocking of the President, but he hasn’t operated in much in Ukraine or Syria, and Ebola has been being mostly fought by doctors, not necessarily the American government. Also, those dirty Russians proposed the chemical weapons deal in Syria, and the ceasefire in Ukraine, meaning Obama didn’t seize the initiative on them. The Founder’s Line is true, we have those as national values, but also when taking the responsibility to lead, we plan strategies, develop tactics on the battlefield, and also fight the wars. Otherwise, it looks conceited of us to simply claim the ability and position to ONLY plan strategy and not have to contribute to the war or battlefield tactics. The last line about Security is interesting, because it seems more like a domestic jab than an international one. Maybe intentional.

OVERALL APPRAISAL/CRITIQUE OF SPEECH

Overall, he seemed energetic in this speech, or at least interested in the dilemma. It’s a nice counter to the man who didn’t want to interrupt his game of golf. However, I think two things could have sold the speech better. Giving the Speech from Baghdad, or in Cairo; second, using the phrase “Radical Islam” not just Radicals. Because the ISIS/ISIL are not subscribing to Hadiths like many others are, it puts them more in the camp of “Quran centered theology.” The use of Jizya, which was an accepted practice in the Golden Horde (Tatar Russia), Cordoba (Moorish Spain), and the Abbasid Caliphate (Middle East minus Turkey and Iran), allowed for a taxation on all non-Muslims for their continuous to be heathens, heretics, or infidels. Executions for converting or spreading those faiths were also practiced in all these former historically MUSLIM/ISLAMIC states.

My father speculated that an Iran option could be in the works, which would be equivalent in the American spectrum to a Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement. While it could be a possibility, the lack of mention for the struggle of the Shia Majority in Iraq was interesting. Also, some mention of religious Minorities, a talking point to reference the Yazidi. I am really piqued by the delineation between Kurds and Iraqis. If all else fails, I guess he or the administration broadly could propose a two-state or three-state solution. The problem is, in any situation, will an independent Kurdistan (Kurdish secular state) be tolerated by its neighbors, or it will be the Armenia/Israel of the Muslim World. The last 1000 years haven’t been particularly great for Kurds under Turkish, Persian, or Arabic rule. Not much happened during the European rule by Brits in the 1900s either. Will the Kurds continue to get beat around?

Zero mention of Israel, which is a positive thing. Zero mention of Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, or Iran; meaning the Coalition with Arab “allies” isn’t concrete. That’ll slow down any operation at this point. Also, do any of these countries immediately benefit from fighting for America in the Iraq problem? And who will help the dwindling and outnumbered Syrian opposition forces?

For an interesting contrast, here is the Speech for the War on Terror, on 9/20/2001. I am not saying that Obama should sound like Bush; but I think Bush’s more critical refutation of Al-Qaeda could have been dropped on ISIS/ISIL, since that group was once associated with Al-Qaeda, but got too radical for Al-Qaeda.

Memorandum on Ukraine

I have been missing for a few weeks as I have become absorbed in ending of semester papers and finals. I will create a poll as I usually do and I am curious as to how you feel about the proposals, and if you have an idea to further this, I would suggest you comment them. In fact, if you so desire, if you have a great idea, in your opinion, send me an email at archangel620@gmail.com. I will post it up as a reply to this article.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Washington, D.C.

4/23/2014

DECISION MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

From: Michael Arthur McKinney

Subject: Options for preventing escalation of Russo-Ukrainian crisis

Summary: This memo provides options and a recommendation for addressing preventative measures against escalation of the recent Russo-Ukrainian Crisis

Goals: Establish international support for the integrity of borders of states; reaffirm the rights of individuals to self-determination of the government of their choosing; create overt and strong support for the Ukrainian government from the international community

Background: Following the recent revolution in Ukraine, unmarked armed forces began to occupy the Crimean Peninsula. While the identity of these forces is unknown, their actions coincide with Russian rhetoric. On February 27, Crimean units and the unmarked vehicles began seizing checkpoints and had armored personnel carriers, in addition to light and heavy personal weapons. These unassociated assailants forced out the Prime Minister of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and put in a pro-Russian figure, while also replacing the Ukrainian flag with a Russian flag. In addition to the unmarked and Crimean-associated forces, on February 28, Russian units moved into Rostov-on-Don, a border city. On March 1, the Russian representative to the United Nations presented a photocopy of a letter that was signed by ousted President Yanukovych calling for Russian military intervention.
The first issue is how to foster credibility and legitimacy for the new Ukrainian government. A second issue is the integrity of borders for Ukraine and the right to defend itself from military intervention. A third concern, is the transition of fair and free elections, and how one would ensure these provinces their right to self-determination. A final concern, should be the future security of Ukraine from further military occupation or annexation by Russia.
On the international stage, there are two major groups that have reacted to this situation: NATO and the European Union. NATO Secretary General Rasmussen has publicly called on Russia to de-escalate from this crisis, to pull back troops from Ukraine’s borders, to stop further destabilization operations, and establish clearly that Putin will not support violent actions by pro-Russian separatists and protestors. NATO has increased air patrols in the Baltic States and additional naval vessels to be moved closer to Ukraine. NATO has also called for military personnel to conduct military exercises in Eastern Europe. NATO has estimated nearly 40,000 Russian forces are near the border.
The European Union has stated that Russia has acted deplorably in using military force in Ukraine. It considers the military activity to be unwarranted escalation of tensions, and supports dialogue between states, while respecting Ukrainian sovereignty and international law.
The need for action has been present since Russian military intervention began on March 1. However, the Ukrainian government has recently begun a campaign to use its military to strike back against pro-Russian separatists and protestors in Eastern Ukraine. With the Ukrainians finally using military force to quell the domestic unrest, and Russians threatening greater military action if pro-Russian protestors or separatists are harmed, it is clear that previous rhetoric and actions by the United States and our allies have failed.

NATO Option:  In order for NATO to effectively act on this issue, NATO members must reconsider their defense to be a priority. It can no longer be stressed that American resources can fight and defend NATO’s interests. To push this idea, in states where defense is limited, we must create opportunities for them to expand their arsenal, and be able to effectively guard themselves. As this crisis has unfolded, it is quite clear that expectations on America are far too high and outside of reality. Nations such as Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, or Hungary, which share a border with either Russia or Ukraine have made statements of concern that their current defenses are not enough, and they seek to expand their arsenal, though their own options to build and increase them are limited.
There are currently military exercises occurring in Poland with NATO forces, in part training the various member states’ armies. This program should be kept up until the situation is fully de-escalated. Using this as a premise, and under consideration of the border member states, missile bases can and should be built, along with creation of joint NATO bases close to the Russian-shared borders. Air patrols should be doubled in size and commitment, and American personnel should begin advisory roles in the Baltic States on further air coordination and training. Finally, coordination to build NATO-sponsored hospital ships in the Baltic and Black Sea should begin.
The expected result from this is that Russia will see our commitment to border integrity. These numbers will also show that we not only speak of supporting fellow NATO states, but ensuring them through physical displays our support for fellow NATO member states. The real goal of this is to rekindle positive attitudes to the integrity of NATO and strengthen the alliance, after several recent remarks by NATO members. These remarks while not directly suggestive of a break in the alliance, can be seen as a weak point, and if not corrected, as failed diplomacy by NATO and America to its allies.

Resources Required: A large amount resources will be required in the immediate period. A full operation by the Combat Commander in the region along, with increased NATO commitment will expend resources. It is encouraged to seek State and USAID support for the hospital ships as well, as these will not be operated by the United States, but by NATO. Clearly NATO cooperation is necessary, but specifically the cooperation of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Bulgaria, as well as any other state seeking to invest in these endeavors. I estimate that at least an American contribution of $500 Million dollars for the building of the two hospital ships. For at least the Polish missile defense system, it would cost at least $5 Billion to build.

Pros: Re-alignment of the NATO alliance to trusting each other and rebuilding a perceived lack of commitment and resolve by the United States as well as Western European states. Poland would be quite pleased as this would be consenting to its recent request for increased NATO infrastructure and defensive capabilities.

Cons: The Russian will see this as a direct challenge and have expressed before that it would be perceived as such.

Metrics: Success in this plan is dependent on preventing further Russian expansionism. This plan does not address the current Russian invasion, but is about preventing actions Westward by the Russians. In the immediate, success would be Poland approving of NATO military bases and a missile defense system. Another piece of this success is dependent on the costs that America expends. If other member states can at least meet half the costs for the operations, cooperation will show the alliance is still strong, and that will be important in showing that NATO is still a strong alliance against aggression.

Level of Overtness/Covertness: Highly Overt

Level of Confidence of Success: Medium-Low Confidence

Risks of this approach: The Russia Leader, Putin, will see this as an escalation on the matter of Ukraine, rather than a de-escalatory tactic. Ukraine may also see this, if done solely, as a sign of complacency on their current political situation. Finally, citizens of various NATO states have expressed in some manner a desire to not interfere. This could have unintended political consequences that might severely affect the process mid-term financially or in manpower.

European plan I:  With the crisis in the Ukraine, it’s become quite clear that the European Union is still far too dependent on one source, Russia, for all of its petrochemicals, including natural gas and oil. This energy dependency needs to end, and it will alleviate some of the diplomatic power the Russian government has when dealing with the European Union.
As part of our own government subsidies that assist the oil industry, we should place pressure on our companies to give lower and better deals with the European states. This strategy will be used to undercut the Russian hold on the European natural gas and oil market. We can also utilize the suspension on various military deals to sell or buy the different military deals that EU members have currently tied to the Russians.
Another piece of the cooperation between the EU in regards to the Russo-Ukraine Crisis should be the furthering of the diplomatic and economic talks that the European Union had prior to the crisis. These talks should not only be between the European Union and Ukraine, but should also include Moldova and Georgia, and be interested in helping these countries be able to stand on their own. Together with the European Union, an economic aid package should be designed, so as to alleviate the struggling economic situation the Ukrainian people find themselves in.

Resources Required: In this option, the IMF and USAID, along with European Union members will have to draft an aid package that will adequately assist the Ukraine. Gas company subsidies will have to be convinced to carry this change through, which leads to changing the bureaucracy.

Pros: The separation of the European Union from the dependency on Russian gas and oil will lead to a more diplomatically independent and stalwart Europe, meaning that organizations such as NATO and the United Nations will have more credibility through the EU being economically stronger.

Cons: Exposes the US market to sharper fluctuation as oil companies provide less oil and natural gas supply to the domestic market. A chance that Ukraine will not make a budget in which the debt of their state will be adequately resolved and an economic aid package will therefore be moot in assisting Ukraine.

Metrics: One metric we could account for would the overall dependence on Russian natural gas and oil out of the total European Union consumption. If we can even reduce the consumption by 2% on average between the member states, success as a whole could be considered. Also, as a long-term goal to consider, success would be a budget in Ukraine in which at least a $1 Billion reduction in the deficit and at least a 2% reduction in the % of the GDP that the debt covers.

Level of Overtness/Covertness: This plan can have covert options, especially through the oil companies. However, as a whole, this plan is still at a high level of overtness.

Level of Confidence of Success: Low confidence of success due too many moving parts

Risks of this approach: This will be seen as a direct challenge by the United States from the Russia. Relying on one, the European Union making economic long-term changes, and two, relying on cooperation from the oil companies places this plan in a position of really being outside the United States control.

European Plan II:  Utilizing the overall package of the previous plan, rather than pressuring oil and natural gas companies in the United States to reduce prices, pressure will be placed on other oil-exporting and natural gas-exporting states to provide cheaper prices to the European Union. Organizations such as the Arab League, as well as Canada and Norway should be considered for this. Nations that are willing to offer cheaper than Russian prices to the Russians will receive cheaper military prices, as well as creation of various exchanges between states.
This strategy will be used to undercut the Russian hold on the European natural gas and oil market. We can also utilize the suspension on various military deals to sell or buy the different military deals that EU members have currently tied to the Russians. In consideration with the Canadian exporting, we could officially approve and begin construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Another piece of the cooperation between the EU in regards to the Russo-Ukraine Crisis should be the furthering of the diplomatic and economic talks that the European Union had prior to the crisis. These talks should not only be between the European Union and Ukraine, but should also include Moldova and Georgia, and be interested in helping these countries be able to stand on their own. Together with the European Union, an economic aid package should be designed, so as to alleviate the struggling economic situation the Ukrainian people find

Resources Required: In this option, the IMF and USAID, along with European Union members will have to draft an aid package that will adequately assist the Ukraine. At the same time, cultural and educational exchanges will be established between these states and the United States. Plans to sell military equipment, such as aircraft, and other necessary devices will also be laid with these nations, at cheaper prices through military grants to help these cooperating nations sell to the European Union.

Pros: First this option places the brunt of the Russian irritation on the international community as a whole, rather than the United States. Second, it will allow for some revenue to the American government as we sell supplies from our currently-being reduced military. Thirdly, we create opportunities for soft power to affect change and cooperation in states that would ordinarily have a hostile attitude to the United States. Finally, the opportunity to increase our own access to natural gas and oil.

Cons: The United States might pass through this plan without ever being directly acknowledged as having done some good. We may also suffer some at-home political backlash for being unwilling to use our own natural gas and oil exporting capacity. Finally, this plan will not make up for the loss face we have suffered during the Russo-Ukraine crisis. Some minor political backlash to approving Keystone XL pipeline, as legalists and environmentalists have tried to foster opposition to its passage and building.

Metrics: One metric we could account for would the overall dependence on Russian natural gas and oil out of the total European Union consumption. If we can even reduce the importing of Russian petro products by 2% on average between the member states, success as a whole could be considered. Also, as a long-term goal to consider, success would be a budget in Ukraine in which at least a $1 Billion reduction in the deficit and at least a 2% reduction in the % of the GDP that the debt covers is achieved.

Level of Overtness/Covertness: Low level covert opportunities to influence Muslim states through non-direct means. Medium Level overtness through the IMF and USAID economic aid packages.

Level of Confidence of Success: Medium level of success as less bureaucracy to face and greater opportunities to show direct benefit for American participation in the crisis.

Risks of this approach: Continues an intentional effort to reduce our own military capacity. Can be seen as paying non-allies for something that doesn’t immediately help the taxpayers. Over-reliance on outside, non-aligned states to keep their agreements.

Recommendation:The recommendation is that you approve European Plan II and also consider approving the NATO option as well. By using our own military capacity that is being currently reduced, and leasing or selling it to strategic partners near or bordering Russia, we can reduce the military budget without permanently destroying the tools we have access to. The options combined also allows for re-affirmation of support to worried allies in the region, as well as increasing cooperation with other states that we have limited or tense relations with right now. Also, with the availability to Canadian natural gas and oil, we may be able to create incentive for lower petro prices in our domestic market and thus gain public approval. If we are going to intervene, we need to convince the American public that there is some benefit that they will experience.

The Surveillance State

Police State: A type of domestic governance in which a country puts regulations upon citizens and their formal rights to prevent them from committing violence, endangering the lives of others, and the lives of themselves. Seatbelt laws, and CCTV cameras at traffic stops are typically considered to be part of the “police state” mentality. However, this can also be the use non-lethal weapons, like tasers and batons, and removing all firearms from public society. Police States usually see citizens become dependent on the police force for all safety concerns, regulations, and crime. They also typically see the militarization of the police, and is sometimes attributed with escalations of violence, like terrorism and open revolt, in police state regimes. The state of Guatamala can be considered a Police State, and is also a dictatorship.

SURVEILLANCE STATE: MY OWN OPINION

I should preface this by saying this article is going to be completely biased. You’ll find out several things from this article, most dealing with my fierce opposition to my 1st and 4th amendments being violated. In the first amendment, the government is banned from limiting our rights to speech, press, petitioning, assembling, and expressing ourselves. A typical argument of libertarians like me is that the right to assemble allows for the formation of Private Organizations with the ability to discriminate on membership and be a closed group. Thus following, it is the right of a group or an individual to their closed status and privacy from public scrutiny. AND because the government is banned from infringing on it, privacy advocates see the right to assemble a key component of preventing government surveillance and unwarranted searches into our private files.
The 4th amendment is that the government is banned from completing unwarranted searches and seizures. It requires all organizations of law enforcement to provide proper documentation, probable cause, and a judiciary sanctioning of the act. The main problem with some of the surveillance options the federal government chooses lies in the fact that in order to search lawfully someone’s possessions, one must lawfully present a warrant at the time of searching. The secret collection and content viewing by the government infringes the 4th amendment by allowing law enforcement to no longer be required to show the warrant upon seizure of evidence. I say this because at any time in the last 10 years, none of the millions of Americans being spied on have received a notice of being searched or having the NSA present them with documentation to seize their data.
So now you know, I am a privacy advocate. At the same time, I don’t actively oppose the intelligence agencies operations, but I do highlight the immorality of their actions. Government is a tool for the people by the people and of the people. As such, it is on us to determine the morality of an action by the government and to support it when it maintains the moral high ground and scold it when it falls from grace. The NSA and CIA spying on US citizens could be legal and moral in many situations, but currently in its scope recently, it has been unlawful and illegal. It has violated the integrity of the Constitution by sanctioning spying on US citizens. It has committed immorality in terms of society’s views by judging all Americans the same and creating a system of mistrust and fear of the government. Most libertarians oppose and fear government, in large scale and in central authority. I admit that I am rather fond of the Federal system our Founders chose, and I don’t oppose scale of action, but I still do oppose centralizing authority.

These are all important facts in reading my article. On this issue, you’ll see my two sides: on one side, there’s a part of me that loves my civil liberties, including writing and pressing these articles, and contributing to the liberty and freedom expressed by our Constitution. ON THE OTHER HAND, there is a part of me that loves my country so fervently, that I can tap into the mindset and understand the Police State mentality. I said mistrust and fear because none of the recent information put out about the NSA or CIA has encouraged anyone that they are doing a good job. If nothing else, they are being used to once again strip the power of the US government from being capable, to being vulnerable. I cannot highlight how much the unity in mind gets sickened with this current regime’s policies (I call it a regime because I do not support this government).

Alright, now that you know my bias and opinion, here are the summary of recent events in the surveillance issues.

NSA

Most recently, Edward Snowden, espionage man, double agent, traitor, patriot, un-American-American, and all around anti-government informant, gave us some interesting news about a program at the NSA. In the details, thanks to the efforts of the NSA, they can fully track conversations of foreign leaders around the globe, and due to the power of technology, they can rewind and play back conversations that happened prior to a month before their tapping of the phones. It is now viable for the NSA to use what you said in the past against you and against the Obama administration’s enemies and friends. Luckily, the President released a statement telling the American people some of the things the NSA is looking for in its bulk data search.

Most recently, IBM became another corporation to claim to have not complied with a national order allowing the NSA to tap their data, but due to Edward Snowden, IBM is on the list of corporations that were hacked to take bulk data. IBM now joins Google, Yahoo, and other internet and computer companies that Edward Snowden has tied to PRISM either by voluntary submission or by unlawful seizing of information. In reference to these PRISM accusations, at SXSW, Snowden discussed with attendees how to maintain privacy and security of your own data online.

CIA

So Senator Feinstein, who deserves much the mockery she has recently received, has recently come out after months of supporting the surveillance round up as being against it. From having the CIA grant computers to her staff and her fellow Democrats and then stealing the data and deleting it off those computers. To a toy helicopter driving her mad about drones, Feinstein has been on a roll recently walking back everything she ever lauded about this regime’s spying programs.

In regards to the CIA computers, the Senate Intelligence Committee had recently been investigating the detention and interrogation techniques used by the CIA and under Director Brennan’s supervision. They requested computers from the agency which would allow them to view the usually secret information, and the CIA complied. After granting the computers, the CIA is accused of using the computers to hack the Committee’s networks and then begin systematic deletion of data the Committee had been collecting during its investigation. Due to this struggle of power between the Committee and the CIA, it has seen the CIA’s general counsel be forced to resign and has him being referenced 1600 times in the investigation of torture in the CIA.

DRONES

Russian Times has an article out today in which Feinstein explains her recent shift from supporting drone programs to now being against them. She was in her home Sunday night when she looked out the window and saw a machine hovering near her window and watching her. When she got up to examine the machine more closely it crashed into the ground while flying away. This was during a demonstration happening outside her home, and the demonstrators were members of Code Pink, who say the machine was a toy helicopter. But thanks to their efforts, now Senator Feinstein questions the scope and powers of drone usage and the organization that will control their domestic powers, the Federal Aviation Association.

Her questions, according to Politico are the following:

  • When is a drone picture a benefit to society?
  • When does it become stalking?
  • When does it invade privacy?
  • How close to a home can a drone go?

Following this moment of realization, Feinstein now seeks to regulate the size of the drones being used, and how they will be used by civilians. She personally would like to have a certification process put in place for those who would operate the drones, and see regulations that properly define the law enforcement role they would serve.

In summary, the basic considerations of privacy versus surveillance breaks down to this simple question.

Do we, the American people, feel safer and more protected now?

US MEDAL OF HONOR

Today if you didn’t know, President Obama granted 24 Medals of Honor to veterans who had been previously overlooked for the award. These veterans were from the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as the 1st and 2nd World Wars and were men of Hispanic, Black, or Jewish origin. I am mentioning this because it’s a moving ceremony, and it is always good to see true Americans, men of valor and bravery, men of courage and resolve, who came home or never will, be rewarded and given the honor they deserve, and at least for a moment, be remembered as heroes.

Its important to remember these veterans, living and deceased, who bravely fought for this country. Regardless of who you support or your political affiliation, everyone can be a proud patriot. If you know someone who served in the armed forces, you shouldn’t just thank them today, but you should show daily the appreciation for your rights you have due to their sacrifices.

The Ukrainian Solution: Uncle Vlad & Empire

The Ukrainian Solution: Uncle Vlad & Empire

Ukraine: Why the hour has passed for Western Military Showmanship

Last week I put together a timeline displaying the transformation of protests into violent actions in Ukraine. This week has ended with reports that the Russian Black Sea Fleet had landed in Crimea. The article is an account given by a professor who wrote papers on the Russian military in the post-Soviet era. The real major concern in moving forward for Ukraine lies in its political functioning.

Unlike the Syrian conflict or the possibility of a Venezuelan one, the protesters have theoretically beaten back the government forces. They have established an interim government, which is looking to enact austerity measures and put Ukraine back on the path to fixing its economy, so that way it can receive financial aid from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, and other Western outlets. By far, the best statesman quote of this lifetime, “To be in this government is to commit political suicide and we need to be very frank and open.”

So why the title then? Because all the financial support in the world does very little good when the Russia’s Man of the Hour, Vladimir Putin had promised a $15 billion bailout in exchange for decreased relations with the West. This is even more pronounced in that deposed leader Viktor Yakunovych is still free and is rallying his pro-Russian followers. And having been reported in the last few hours, the Russian Parliament has granted Putin the right to use military force in Ukraine.

How should the West respond to militarization by Putin and Russia?

Opinion of Michael McKinney: Okay, so KGB Putin, President and Sexiest Man Alive in Russia, wants to rebuild the Russian Empire. That’s not surprising, he’s simply collecting all the pieces of the former USSR states that have Russian populations in them. I think at this point it would be better to plebiscite the individual territories of Ukraine. Plebiscite is a 20s-50s term where the popular sovereignty of the province determines what to do with the state. Have each of the provinces of Ukraine vote on whether they want to integrate with Russia, or remain with the Ukraine. Then peacefully let the ones who decide to join Russia, secede and integrate with Russia. THEN, after the concessions made, place a guarantee of protection on Ukraine, like we should do with Georgia, Poland, Estonia, Livonia, and Lithuania. I would purchase a sum of land from each of the states for a small military base, mostly for training these nations’ military forces in national defense. The money would be under $10 billion to each state, and with the ending of most operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the budget should be able to handle such small, limited-scope missions. It’s more about ensuring that these nations can adequately defend themselves from Russian Imperialism than outright American Imperialism.

Opinion of Michael Tagan: I take your military project and take it one step forward. Let’s make some military grants out to these states so they can buy missile defense systems and better war materials. Maybe offer inclusion in NATO if they don’t already have it. It’s not about outright opposing Russia, so much as showing that we will not tolerate the former oppressions of Communism and Russian Imperialism that occurred. If they want to Empire, They’ll have to consider the strong defensive coalition of NATO as opposed to that.
Though I admit, that in this day and age, good old American Warrior philosophy is typically looked down upon. But I cannot see the current leadership actually having enough of a spine to do anything. It literally would take the Showmanship of Theodore Roosevelt’s White Fleet to deter the Russians and maybe that’s still not strong enough. How can you adequate threaten a nuclear nation bent on rebuilding the Empire when you’ve set precedent you’ll sell democracy for flimsy UN observation missions?