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How to deal with spiraling political unrest in the world
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5251

PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:12 pm    Post subject: How to deal with spiraling political unrest in the world Reply with quote

Very interesting Op Ed piece in today's Chronicle. Let's see how long commentary can be thoughtful before someone hurls a left or right bomb.

Quote:
More than 150 polling centers burned last weekend during Bangladeshi elections. Refugees are pouring in to the U.N. compound in South Sudan, desperate to escape the collapse of the world's newest country, birthed with fanfare just two years ago. Fallujah is again running with blood as the Iraqi government works to oust insurgents who resettled after Americans fought, house by house, against them during our war in Iraq.

Many Americans look at this turmoil and think: Let's sit this one out.

After all, our interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan cost so many lives and dollars, and seem to have won little peace. Maybe we should stop trying to solve the world's problems, because we are just not good at it. But the question "should we engage or not?" is the wrong one.

As a global power, America is engaged. All our choices - sending money or troops or doing nothing - are read as actions for or against various sides in these conflicts. A disengaged U.S. public doesn't mean we do nothing. It means we are sending a very clear signal to the world: bring on more violence and turmoil, we won't bother you. State collapse is horrible for the people caught in it. Eventually, it reaches our shores.


Our problem, however, is not that America is unable to do anything right. The problem is that we haven't got the right tools. Most of the global foreign policy apparatus was built in the 1940s and 1950s, from our Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency to the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and most global financial institutions. Our State Department dates to 1789. These tools were designed to engage with other big, mostly functional countries at a government-to-government level.

But the world now is different. Many problems reside within states, not between them. Reducing terrorism, for example, requires helping countries build stronger public services and train their police to be less corrupt, among other tasks. Those are fundamentally different jobs than getting a government to agree to a treaty.

Where narco-traffickers have taken over swaths of a country, we need to starve them financially and fight them with law enforcement - sending in the Marines won't help. Where governments are abusive and unstable, we need to help citizens create the checks and balances that lead to long-term stability. That's a different set of skills than holding elections.

One: Silicon Valley big data firms are at the forefront of helping our government build a set of tools for the 21st century. They are assisting our military to gain a much deeper understanding of battlefields and our intelligence agencies to see just about everything, for better or worse. They are working with the Department of Justice to track complex financial transactions that could be hiding money-laundering. Gaining this data is crucial, because the issues we face today require deep understanding of the complex interactions of the domestic politics, economic actors and social movements within other countries.

The second step: We need to take all this data and build it into a story that shows us lives in other countries not as numbers in memos, but as characters in novels full of complex, interacting, human forces. Some firms are working on this: searching through social media, for instance, to understand the mood of the public in other countries, not just the bits and bytes.

Step three, however, hasn't begun. We need to build new tools to interact at this complex, human level.

For a decade, we've thrown our military at non-military problems. We need to deploy to violent parts of the world, but we've starved other governmental agencies of funding until they are so weak, so risk-averse, and so hemmed in by red tape that they can't work. We need to legitimize international action - but the U.N. is hamstrung by the whims of the great powers of the 1940s. We need to empower citizens in other countries; but our aid agencies are built to shovel money out the door, not to engage people in the slow, but less-costly job of making their own governments work.

Organizations are a form of technology. From the creation of the corporation to Wikipedia's crowdsourcing, new organizational forms provide new ways to cooperate. We need the California innovation machine to help invent new types of organizations that can solve today's problems. Facebook and Twitter drastically reduced the cost of organizing revolutions - but failed to help people govern and lead. Programs such as See, Click, Fix empower people to help their governments work better - but only when governments want to help their citizens.

If you have to put a screw into a wall, but have only a rusty wrench, broken pliers and a hammer, you might bang away with any of them - but you're likely to conclude that you aren't good at putting in screws. We need to create some new screwdrivers.

Rachel Kleinfeld is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She founded the Truman National Security Project. To comment, go to www.sfgate.com/chronicle/submissions/#1
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14226

PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We had better hope to hell the highly informed, lifelong students of social unrest caused by national economic failures are dead wrong in their dire predictions for European and then U.S. civil revolution as governments become increasingly unable to give the takers the stuff they've been promised and/or are largely already receiving (e.g., phones, internet in the bottom of the Grand Canyon, student loan forgiveness, health care, mortgage bailouts, income and outcome equality, ambulance rides to the mall, EBT/SNAP cards many states accept for ANY purchase whatsoever, social security disability with zero proof, partying at college, and hundreds more giveaways from both parties to buy votes.

For starters, ya "deal" with it with tough love. "Sit down, STFU, get a job, pay yer own way for just about everything not provided by the Constitution and laws derived therefrom, contribute all you can to both national and yer own damned wellbeing, stop expecting yer neighbor to wipe yer butt, and demand yer government stop this debunked socialization nonsense and fix the economy the right way: with lightly controlled capitalism and effective institutional encouragement to rely on yourself rather than unearned welfare.


Last edited by isobars on Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5251

PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

didn't survive 20 minutes.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 4150

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mac, this is why the #1 priority of the executive branch was the military. Our founding fathers knew that most countries would destabilize, fail, and then go to war eventually.

Our own government has been increasingly preparing for strife by militarizing local law enforcement, and spying on its citizens. We will destabilize when our currency fails, or there is a natural disaster that prevents reliable food distribution. Until then, it's just party on dude.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BARD--not sure what your point is. I think that the point of the article was that military solutions are a poor fit for political problems. I think that has been the overwhelming lesson of our misadventures in the Middle East. I would note that Iran has agreed to fairly detailed inspections of their nuclear facilities, to begin January 9th. I know a number of Iranian ex-pats. Iran is a very different, and much more modern country than Iraq, and light years more modern than Afghanistan. Education and literacy are dramatically higher in Iran, and the totalitarian nature of the religious zealots at the top is the reason that they are in the United States. There is yet promise for diplomacy, at least in the case of Iran.

You sometimes forget that I generally agree with you about freedom and liberty issues. The biggest difference is that I see Obama as marginally an improvement over Bush and Cheney, I also see that it has generally been right wing organizations within government--the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA, that have supported illegal spying. You may be interested in this book: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/burglars-who-took-on-fbi-abandon-shadows.html?_r=0

reviewed in some detail in the weekend newspapers. The libertarian movement in my youth was housed largely in leftish Catholic and Quaker groups, and this is the story of their burglary of FBI offices that revealed massive illegal spying on Americans. It has been going on for a long time.
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5830

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say that I found the opinion article very insightful. It certainly raises the right kind of questions about how we do many things in the world, and goes far beyond just the military/policing concepts being employed today.

Regarding isobars, seems like he took a wrong turn.
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beaglebuddy



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 700

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mac wrote:
I also see that it has generally been right wing organizations within government--the FBI, the NSA, and the CIA, that have supported illegal spying.

Can't let you get away with that, it's one of the most preposterous things you have ever posted, and that's saying a lot because there have been some doozies.
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beaglebuddy



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 700

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several points, what you turn a blind eye to is that it's muslims that are causing all the problems in all these "nations" referenced in the article.
Yes, the world has a muslim problem. Nearly every single war or humanitarian crisis in the world today involves muslims who cannot get along with their neighbors.
What liberals fail to realize is that muslims only understand force and all these attempts to civilize them by exporting democracy at this point seem to be complete failures.
I contend that all these attempts to help people in poor nations have largely failed and in fact made things worse. Any increase in living standards seems to just enable them to have more children and further destroy their environment by overpopulation, destructive farming, logging and fishing practices resulting in more famine, floods, oppression etc..
Just as in this country when you give people free stuff you are not helping them.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5251

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing about BB's bigotry surprises me, including this:
\
Quote:
What liberals fail to realize is that muslims only understand force and all these attempts to civilize them by exporting democracy at this point seem to be complete failures


Spoken like a true fascist, who will use force, whether called for or not. Who probably thinks it has worked well so far.
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boggsman1



Joined: 24 Jun 2002
Posts: 3567
Location: at a computer

PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beaglebuddy wrote:
Several points, what you turn a blind eye to is that it's muslims that are causing all the problems in all these "nations" referenced in the article.
Yes, the world has a muslim problem. Nearly every single war or humanitarian crisis in the world today involves muslims who cannot get along with their neighbors.
What liberals fail to realize is that muslims only understand force and all these attempts to civilize them by exporting democracy at this point seem to be complete failures.
I contend that all these attempts to help people in poor nations have largely failed and in fact made things worse. Any increase in living standards seems to just enable them to have more children and further destroy their environment by overpopulation, destructive farming, logging and fishing practices resulting in more famine, floods, oppression etc..
Just as in this country when you give people free stuff you are not helping them.

Outside of a few seccession groups in Southern Oregon, its good to know nobody with any real power in the Western World, shares the views of Mr. BeagleBuddy.


Last edited by boggsman1 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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