Martyred for Peace

Photo credit: Zach Dischner

Photo credit: Zach Dischner

We all talk about peace. About ending war. About making a difference for our fellow man. But would you walk the walk, even if you’re only walking into an early grave?

That’s what it cost Aitzaz Hassan. Aitzaz, may his soul rest in peace, was a brave 15-year-old boy who selflessly sacrificed himself to prevent a suicide bomber from detonating in his school, saving an estimated 1,000 classmates’ lives.

Since his heroic actions, photos of the boy have popped up all over the web: an overall unassuming boy, most likely not the most remarkable of his peers. And yet, the bud of a hero lay dormant inside this seemingly mild-mannered youth. So what does it take to be a hero? Some would say it takes guts, others might claim it takes self confidence, and others yet would say one must be mad to throw themselves at an assailant in someone else’s defense. Well, I would claim otherwise: that the workings of a hero can be found in anyone, and in fact everyone. [Read more…]

Syria Proves Democracy Failed

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America may soon be going to war. Again. And there’s not a thing democracy can do about it.

Now I’m not saying the United States of America, a constitutional republic, is a democracy. It does, however, have certain democratic elements. Elements put up on a heroic pedesetal whenever government injustice is brought to light: “Don’t like it? Vote on it and change it.” Well, guess what? Voting on it doesn’t seem to be working. The vast majority of the American people opposes the looming Syrian intervention. And yet, it appears to be happening anyway.

Democratic peace theory states that war between democratic nations is extremely unlikely, as the people of neither nation would want a war that could be avoided in favor of peaceful solutions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work when a government ceases to represent the will of the people and begins acting unilaterally. All that theory about democracy means nothing once reduced to its barest elements: giving power to certain individuals. Given enough time, said individuals in authority figure out a way to deal with pesky democratic elements or constitutional limitations on power. All that is then left is the jack-booted state, which will go to war whenever it damn well pleases.

Economics professor extraordinaire Hans-Hermann Hoppe called democracy the “God that failed.” In light of the looming Syrian conflict, it would appear that democracy is failing. Hard.

Is Bahrain Next?

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

Photo credit: Al Jazeera

Like perpetual war? No? Then stay out of Bahrain.

The small kingdom in the Persian Gulf has seen no small amount of turmoil since the Arab Spring in 2011. A Shiite-majority Sunni-governed country, Bahrain promises to undergo internal power struggles similar to those in Iraq. It also looks to be a battleground in the greater Sunni/Shiite rift between their respective power centers, Saudi Arabia and Iran. We’re already seeing some terrorist attacks by Iranian-linked groups.

Unfortunately, this all could easily become America’s problem. Beyond another Mid-East stabilization project/intervention excuse, Bahrain is also home to a major U.S. naval base near Juffair.

I’ll spare you the lengthy, in-depth analysis in favor of a quick possible sequence of consequences. U.S. invades Bahrain and invariably sides with the Saudi-backed powers that be, ensuring a long insurgency by the Shiite-majority population. This increased military presence could easily spark a war with an already-twitchy Iran. As if that weren’t bad enough, think of the implications of taking on one side of a bitter regional power struggle. The potential end result of a Bahraini intervention? Another generation of war.

Is Bahrain just another battlefield in the greater, continuing Arab Spring? Or is it a future smoking crater senselessly claiming thousands more American lives? We had better start thinking long and hard about it right now.

Enemies of the Once-Free World

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Edward Snowden is selling a chance to flip the proverbial bird at the U.S. government. And the potential customers keep lining up.

After hiding out in Hong Kong for a while, Snowden made a break for Moscow, from whence to devise his ultimate escape plan. Several Latin American countries have already indicated that he is welcome to avoid his American pursuers inside their borders.

Why? For what reason would anyone want to shelter a fugitive from the Land of the Free? Aren’t Americans the good guys?

While there’s always the possibility of competition against an old rival, as is Russia’s case, the reasons run far deeper, and are far less comforting for those of us who maintain the illusion that the U.S. is still the global good guy. The sobering truth is, much of the planet is covertly hostile to the world hegemon, and for legitimate reasons. Occupying and “nation-building” other countries, maintaining a significant military presence across most of the world, drone-bombing innocents and then pretending this practice doesn’t exist… the list goes on and on. South America, in particular, has a bone to pick over the drug war, whereby the U.S. insists that Latin America maintain strict drug laws and do war with the cartels that spring up as a result, while America continues to be the biggest market (and therefore funder) for the cartels tearing these countries apart.

When America suffers embarrassment, her enemies rejoice. And judging from the chorus of cheers, her enemies are many.

Snowden’s Russian Reversal

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In former Soviet Russia, tyrant rescues you from tyranny.

In this bizarro world, whistleblower and defender of liberty extraordinaire Edward Snowden has found aid to his flight from tyranny in one of the oddest places imaginable: Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Snowden slipped out of his hiding place in Hong Kong to stop off in Moscow before hopefully finding asylum elsewhere in the world.

Now, it should be pretty obvious that Putin is no friend of government transparency and civil rights. He is merely reveling in any and every opportunity to stick it to the global hedgemon and his greatest old rival, the United States, that presents itself. It’s just a shame that this last vestige of a bygone era and stereotypical awesome movie villain ended up on the side of liberty this time.

When a country ruled by a former KGB agent serves as a crucial ally to a selfless servant of truth and transparency against the U.S. government, the so-called “land of the free” needs a major reality check.

China’s Next

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It’s coming. China’s time of troubles is right around the corner.

We’ve heard for years about how the populous hybrid of communism and capitalism is on a triumphant victory march. We’ve been told countless times that its rigid national discipline, newfound business acumen, and large size will lead it to global dominance. We’re all too familiar with the scenario of America crumbling into ashes while China rises like a phoenix in all its firey glory.

That’s not going to be the case. The People’s Republic is coming up on hard times.

I previously wrote about today’s restless and futureless youth from a more American perspective. It’s not, however, a uniquely American problem. It’s a problem caused by the old world, the old system of human society. The Chinese are just now coming to more or less accept this predominantly Western model, thinking it to be the key to a glorious future. They would be right had they come to the game a couple of decades sooner.

But now that model is outdated and unsuitable to the new world. And the cracks are showing, with China’s youth experiencing diminishing prospects of securing employment. That’s never a good sign, nor is it an isolated incident. More bad news is on its way.

Expect a full report on China’s looming struggles soon. Until then, suffice it to say that you’re in for quite a show. Sit back and relax, and enjoy the view from faraway shores.