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Libya… (too bad Zimbabwe) March 29, 2011

Posted by tackettmedia in politics.
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President Obama’s speech on March 28, 2011, that aimed to justify U.S. military involvement in Libya, left the door wide open for criticism. If the United States were to save all the people in the world from their dictators, which countries should we attack next? Is there a secret list?

In any case, my big criticism is that the United States, nor any other country that I am aware of, does not have clear principles or policies  in place that outline when a situtaion demands consideration for attacking a sovereign nation. My suspicion is that in the case of Libya, contrary to presidential sermon, moral issues were trumped by economic ones. We all know that Libya is a main supplier of oil to Europe. Furthermore, NATO pressure means that the United States needs to listen. If Europe’s economic base is hurting, the United States will share some of the pain.

Let’s shift scenery to another African nation. While President Mugabe of Zimbabwe brutally suppressed his people after they had elected another person, the World watched rather quietly (maybe there were some whispers).

Shift back to Libya. Yes, Libya is one among many north-African and Muslim countries in turmoil right now. However, if moral standards were the true reason of involvement in Libya, then why not helping Zimbabwe’s citizens?

The main difference that comes to mind is oil (a little humor is inserted here: http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/world/1407-oil-found-in-zimbabwe-uk-and-us-to-invade-next-week.html)

Europe’s interest and economic well-being affects us more than Southern Africa’s. Economic reasons always top moral reasons – and maybe they should in politics. But if that is the case, then please, don’t think we, the people, are stupid. Just be forthcoming and explain what is really going on.

Education needs to be top priority in Afghanistan January 19, 2010

Posted by tackettmedia in politics.
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When Pres. Obama addressed the nation announcing a troop surge in Afghanistan a few months ago, I was not surprised at all. A first-year president, regardless of his political affiliation, really had no other choice than to take the direction he did.

However, there were two topics that I missed in his speech – education and a definition of victory.

For one, it was clear to everybody listening to the President’s reasons for a troop surge, that the Obama administration has re-defined what victory in Afghanistan looks like. However, the President did not clearly state what this new definition is, which made me question whether he believes in an American victory in Afghanistan.

Secondly, education is probably the most important aspect of stabilizing a nation where a majority of the population does not remember a time without foreign occupation or civil unrest. Basically, the Afghan people do not even know the concept of government. (At least the Iraqi people know the concept of government, even though they were living under a dictatorship).

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, 44.5 percent of Afghans are 14 years of age or younger, 53 percent are 15 to 64 years old and 2.4 percent are 65 and older.

The War in Afghanistan started in 2001, nine years ago. Consequently, 45.5 percent of the population (likely more than that) grew up during this current war situation. We know that prior to that, the Afghan people were in a civil war (1996-2001) under Taliban repression. And before, there was another civil war. Then in the late 70s/early 80s the Soviets were fighting in Afghanistan.

What I’m getting at is this: we need to engage in educational outreach if we want people to understand what government means and if we want them to be able to stabilize their own country. I’m not talking of imposing democracy or any other form of government. I’m talking about basic education: reading, writing, math and providing people with the resources necessary for doing their own research. Without this, how can a people understand the purpose of government? And, what is more, how can we leave in 18 months and expect Afghans to be able to maintain internal stability?

Again, close to half of the population in Afghanistan is under 20 years of age and has never lived under a functioning government.

Sources mentioned in this blog:

The World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/af.html

President’s speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-address-nation-way-forward-afghanistan-and-pakistan