Ok, first up. I was wrong when I reckoned that Hilary Clinton wouldn’t be confirmed as Obama’s secretary of state (SoS), thinking that too much was at stake for her to accept, or for him really accept her in a post where she is diametrically opposed to his philosophy. Hilary is a hawk, Barack Obama isn’t. Her worldview is much narrower than his. She can’t have her heart fully into carrying out his philosophy.
Obama’s failure would be her failure and would ruin her chances of presidency (of course, if he didn’t make it through his full presidency…).
Furthermore, the role of SoS severely restricts Bill Clinton’s money earnings and his ego. He wants to be an unofficial secretary of state cum ambassador. He can’t when that’s his wife’s post. Added to that, she is still in debt from the primaries… her new salary can’t recover that.
But I’m wrong, Obama has chosen, we have to stick with it. It will be interesting however, what signals Hilary sends to the world… hawkish, or conciliatory. If it’s the former, a lot of people worldwide will be severely disappointed.
Every American president for the last 30 years has been trying to leave their definitive stamp on the mid-east. None has been able to do so conclusively, not because of the intransigence of the Arab nations, but because of their inability to coerce or extort Israel as they have done the rest of the world. This time, America’s inability to bend Israel is a bad thing.
America’s policy to Israel remains the greatest stumbling block to mid-east peace. But this not what has been is sold to the American people. Currently over 1,500,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are facing starvation due to Israeli blockades… militant and non-militants alike… men, women and children.
Israel is ensuring that no fuel or food supplies gets into Gaza, and they are stopping journalists, diplomats, aid workers from entering also. This is genocide. If this was done by Russia or in Africa, we would be hearing a lot of the ‘G’ word.
Yet the Bush regime is complicit is what is happening. Ever since Hamas won elections over the American-preferred candidate in Gaza, the US has been attempting to over-throw the legitimately elected Hamas, even to the point of arming and training the opposition.
The fact is that it has been Israel and not the Arabs that has been violating or blocking peace agreements all along. This is well documented, except the main sources of our knowledge don’t give the ‘real truth’ to us.
Just recently, a New York columnist Robert Cohen alluded to the belief that it is Israel that is the real stumbling block, and it is America’s wholesale support that gives Israel the leverage to do so. Cohen urges tough love from the Obama administration to Israel, not giving in to their every whims and wants. Not allowing America to be continuously be wagged by the tail.
Interestingly, ex-president Jimmy Carter has been maintaining the very same thing, and when he wrote his book saying so (Palestine; Peace or Apartheid 2007) he was roundly condemned by Israeli lobbyists and paid sympathizers.
Yet any sensible person should be able to rationalize that every situation has several sides. Nobody is all good, and nobody is all bad. Yet we have been socialized to look at entire countries in terms of ‘the axis of evil’, to look at Arab communities simply as suicide bombers who don’t want peace for their children.
Truth is never so black and white, and it is difficult to discern where the real road to peace lay, and not be swayed by political or even religious obligations. This is the major task that both Obama and Clinton will be faced with. I’m not sure Hilary is up to it.
Black Friday should be renamed All Fools Day. In these days when people tightening their grip on their cash, many are running around like turkeys without heads celebrating a tradition designed solely to take money out of their pockets.
I understand people lining up from overnight to get deals when there is money in their pockets and the future is bright. But many stampeding the doors of Wal-mart, have a bleak future, yet they rush to spend what they don’t have. Pavlov and turkeys… what a thought.
Americans conditioned reflex is greater than common sense… something that surprised even the economists. As I always say, never underestimate stupidity.
But was this good Black Friday any indication of the economy, or of it improving in the next few months? Is it any indication that people are liquid? Is it a sign that retailers will have a good Xmas, be able to keep their stores open and people employed in the new year? No.
While browsing through some back issues, I came across a story in the Jamaica Gleaner about Jamaican anthropologist Herbert Gayle’s findings that wealthy Jamaicans are involved in supplying guns for poorer Jamaicans.
I wish I had a copy of the report, but this does not surprise me. Either just before or just after I left Jamaica, a wealthy Jamaican of Chinese descent was arrested for shipping illegal guns and ammunition into Jamaica. Some were saying that it was to supply the gun club to which he belonged, but that argument didn’t stand up when one looked at some of the guns and ammunition he imported.
Years ago, I wrote about organised assassination teams operating in Jamaica and that the day jobs of the men and women who carried out these killings, were in the banking and legal sector. In other words, they were not poor and illiterate, and they were not doing it for a ‘likkle’ money.
Also, it cannot be a surprise to many that intimidation, extortion, the drug trade and even murder have been tools of many businessmen. Eliminating competition had become to mean just that.
Yet we are blissfully unaware that when we go to cocktail parties and discuss Jamaica’s crime situation, we are doing so with some of the very people who are instrumental in Jamaica’s criminality.