Tag Archives: democracy

Who are we really? Part I

Today, Nicholas Kristof suggests we indulge in a feel-good fantasy when we describe who we are. He starts with a quiz – identify the country:

It has among the lowest tax burdens of any major country . . . Government is limited, so that burdensome regulations never kill jobs.

This society embraces traditional religious values and a conservative sensibility. Nobody minds school prayer, same-sex marriage isn’t even imaginable, and criminals are never coddled.

The budget priority is a strong military, the nation’s most respected institution.  . . .citizens are deeply patriotic, and nobody burns flags.

So what is this Republican Eden, this Utopia? Why, it’s Pakistan. . .

This sounds like where today’s Republican Party want to take us.

. . . as America has become more unequal, as we cut off government lifelines to the neediest Americans, as half of states plan to cut spending on higher education this year, let’s be clear about our direction . . .

Pop quiz

POSTED BY ORHAN

This is an open book test. Please answer the following essay questions as completely as possible.

The UN humanitarian intervention in Libya was initiated to prevent Muammar Qaddafi from committing acts of aggression and brutality against “his own people”.

  1. If attacking and killing “one’s own people” is the test for intervention, what will happen when armed rebels fire on supporters of Muammar Qaddafi? Should the UN intervene to prevent them from attacking “their own people”? Why or why not?
  2.  

  3. The leaders of Bahrain and Yemen have also ordered brutal attacks against “their own people”. Should the UN intervene to protect the civilians of these countries? Why or why not?
  4.  

  5. In Ivory Coast, the refusal by Laurent Gbagbo, the loser of the presidential elections, to step down has led to the deaths of hundreds, and soon possibly thousands, of “his own people”. Should the UN carry out a humanitarian intervention to protect the civilians of this country, which is of low strategic value to the West? Why or why not?
  6.  

  7. Democratic aspirations have manifested in Saudi Arabia, currently the most repressive regime in the Middle East. Containing the world’s largest oil reserves and of supreme strategic importance, Saudi Arabia is America’s oldest ally in the region. If, in the event of a democratic uprising, the Saudi government attacks “its own people” to suppress the democratic movement, should the UN intervene to protect the civilians of this country? Why or why not?
  8.  

Extra Credit:

  1. If the capability existed in 1861, should the international community have intervened to prevent Abraham Lincoln from using violence to prevent secession by “his own people”? Why or why not?

All pencils down.

March Musings (Dorian Lives!)

POSTED BY DORIAN  (Moe notes: Newbies may not know that Dorian was an original co-blogger here who got busy with something he calls ‘a life’. Dorian is young, a musician, a sound designer, newly in love and a wonderful friend. Nice to see him back. To see previous Dorian posts, scroll down to Dorian’s Two Cents in Categories.)

A few random musings: 1) Entering negotiations with the intention not to negotiate is a form of rhetorical terrorism. 2) There’s a reason peaceful protests actually work: A large, angry human mob explicitly not causing mayhem is comparatively rare.

On Public Schools: A democracy can and should be judged by the state of its public schools. (You’re going to Kid Congress every day, not to mention all that mandatory dealing-with-the-people-you-hate training. )

ALSO: Libyans on Hallucinogens would be a good 4th album title.

Half a world in revolt

Some weeks ago I posted that Egypt may be changing our world.

I have my headphones on and am listening to a report from ITN on PBS, my preferred method of watching the news without actually watching. Libya and Bahrain appear to be in genuine revolt. In Bahrain, amidst violence from the government, they’re crying ‘where are the Americans; where are the Brits?” In Libya, the reporter says they don’t care what the US or Brits want or think.  Just hearing these things is a bit jarring.

And then there’s no way of knowing the effect of the US veto in the UN today condemning the ongoing Israeli settlements. The issue is neither the UN’s attempt at condemnation nor the US veto. The issue is will it have any effect on what’s hapepning in the Arab world and if so, what?

By the way, a million showed up today in Cairo – a million – to ‘keep hope alive’.  They’re not done by any means. More clashes could come.

Egypt may be changing our world.