Archive of International Commentaries

International Commentary

A list of previous commentary by the Executive Director follows. Copies of these papers can be obtained by clicking on the link attached. Comments are invited




2016


2012
  1. Afghanistan – Mission Accomplished – January 26, 2012 
  2. The Iranian Nuclear Threat – An alternative Strategy for Israel – March 15, 2012 
2011
  1. The Revolutionary Wave in the Middle East - February 11, 2011 
  2. Unleash the Eqyptian Army - February 23, 2011 
  3. Never Fight Ground Wars Overseas - March 1, 2011 
  4. Japan and Libya – March 12, 2011
  5. Further Deliberation Will Keep Qadaffi in Libya – March 15, 2011 
2010
  1. How Bin Laden Lost the Clash of Civilizations – March 10, 2010 
  2. Immigration Issues – April 30, 2010 
2009
  1. Afghanistan “Cut and Run” or “Stay the Course” - February 5, 2009 
  2. Iran – Carrot and/or Stick Diplomacy – February 27, 2009 
  3. Philanthropy Under Attack – March 18, 2009 
  4. Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom – A Success or Failure? – March 21, 2009 
  5. Afghanistan – Questions to Ponder – April 1, 2009 
  6. Terrorism and the Nanny State – April 24, 2009 
  7. The Crescent Moon on Canterbury - April 29, 2009 
  8. The Clash of Civilizations 
  9. Solutions to Islamic Terrorism
2008
  1. International Boundaries – April 2, 2008 
  2. Platitudes re the US and the Middle East – April 22, 2008 
2007
  1. The United Nations- April 7. 2007 
  2. Iranian Issues – September 15, 2007 
  3. The Middle East – An Historical Perspective – October 1, 2007 
2006
  1. October 26, 2006

                  Copy No. ___

    Simple Solutions

     For

    Complex Problems

     

     

     

     

    A personal and politically incorrect

    discourse on global issues

     

     

    By

     

     

    Byron Kahrs Varme

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2409 Bering Drive No. 3

    Houston, Texas 77057

    Tel: 713.787.5095

    E-mail: bvarme@houston.rr.com

     

    Copyright 2006

    All Rights Reserved

    Simple Solutions  

    For

    Complex Problems

    Contents

    Introduction

    Pages

     

    I.          INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGES                                                                                         14

                The 21st Century Problem

                The “War on Terrorism”

    Weapons of Mass Destruction

    Globalization

                            These are the problems – how to confront them

     

    II.        STRATEGIC ALTERNATIVES                                                                         25

                Introduction

                The Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

                The Arrogance of Power       

    The Clash of Civilizations

                Sovereignty

    Displacing Despots

     

    III.       HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE                                                                             

    Major Conflicts of the Past 100 Years

                          1.           World War I -   1914 to1918                                                             

                          2.           World War II - 1939 to 1945

                          3.           The Korean War – 1950 to 1954

                          4.           Cuba – Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis – 1960 to 1961

                          5 .           The Second Indo-China War (Viet Nam) – 1954 to1975

                          6.           The First Gulf War – 1990 to1991

               

    II.        ONGOING CONFLICTS                                                                                                               

                         1.            Palestine vs. Israel – 1945 to date

                         2.            The War of Terror – 1979 to date

                         3.            Afghanistan- The War against the Taliban – 2001 to date

                         4.            The Second Iraq War – 2002 to date

    The Causes of the Conflicts

                           

    IV.       RELIGION                                                                            15

                The Role of Religion 

    Islamic Fundamentalism

                Spreading the Faith

                The Other Religions

                            The Fight

               

                            V.        POVERTY

     

    DESPOTS AND ROGUE STATES                                                       19

                Despots, Dictators, Autocrats, Tyrants and Oppressors

                The Rogue States

                            1.         Iran

                            2.         Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK)

                            3.         Iraq

    The Proposed Solutions                   

    Historic -

     

    V.        GLOBAL ORGANIZATIONS                                                                                   29

                Internationalism vs. Unilateralism

    League of Nations

    The United Nations

    NATO

    SEATO

    ASEAN

     

    VI.       ORGANIZATION OF FREE COUNTRIES (OFC)                                        32

                The Need to combat terrorism – WW III

                            Flaws in UN
                            Flaws in NATO

                Background

                OFC Charter Membership Criteria

                            Table A- OFC Founding Members

                Monarchies

                The Charter

                Site Selection

                The Mercenary Military

                Implementation

    VII.     CONCLUSIONS                                                                                                 37

                                                                            Appendices

    A.        Organization of Free Countries and other International Organizations

    B.        Recommended Reading

    Introduction

    The basic premise of this paper is that the solutions for some of the world’s most vexing problems are obvious if one just uses a bit of common sense. The main reason that these problems are not solved is that it is not in the self-interest of many of the individuals who are in a position to solve the problems to do so. This paper considers the major international issues confronting the United States and other countries in the so-called developed world, (which we call the “Civilized World”) and proposes “Simple Solutions” to these global problems. This is an ambitious undertaking indeed.

    Millions of words have been written about the issues discussed herein, and the author assumes the readers will have a good understanding of the history of the 20th century. However, to put events into their historic framework, we begin with a very condensed review of the major conflicts of this period.

    The next phase is to consider the major strategic options which are open to our leaders, and analyze the policies chosen by our government. Finally, based upon the lessons learned from this background, we make a recommendation as to how best to proceed forward.

    In this age of modern communications, changes in major world events are daily news, and any effort to analyze the effects of these events is necessarily a work in progress. However, the author’s objective is to penetrate the heart of the issues to try to ascertain the larger international policy decisions which should be followed to best achieve our common objectives of a peaceful, free and prosperous world.

    The opinions expressed herein have been arrived at through personal experience and readings on the topics. Several of the concepts are shared with these authors, others are not. To the extent that any of the editorial comments or proposed solutions offend the reader, please accept my apologies, but so be it.


    I.                              HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

    Major Conflicts of the Last 100 Years

    It is said that those who forget the lessons of history will be condemned to repeat these mistakes. Accordingly, a quick review of the major conflicts of last 100 years and the principal lessons that can be derived from these experiences should be helpful in considering the possible solutions to our current international problems and the optimum role to be played by the U.S. in the remainder of the 21st Century.

    1.         World War I – 1914-1918

    This was the last of the European wars fought between the old monarchies – with personal motivations - over the balance of power in Europe. The US became a reluctant participant to prevent the domination of Europe by Germany. The massive loss of life and cost of the wars led to the formation of the League of Nations, which failed because of isolationist sentiment in the US. This national mood delayed overt American involvement in WWII until the Japanese strike at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

               

    Some Lessons:

               

    (a) A costly war will lead to an isolationist sentiment in the U.S.

    .          

    (b) International peace keeping organizations cannot survive without the active involvement of the U.S.

    2.         World War II – 1939 -1945

    The harsh peace extracted by the Allies, and the ensuing world depression laid the foundation for the rise of Hitler, who used the democratic mechanisms to gain control of the German government. The democratic processes were dismantled forthwith, illustrating the fragility of democracies under control of a dictator. The great tragedy of WWII is that it could have been prevented by the Allies acting in concert while Hitler was still weak.

    The Allied victory left only two major powers standing, the US and the USSR. Learning from past mistakes, the victorious powers did not impose harsh reparations, but instead helped rebuild Germany through the Marshall Plan, and in Japan General Macarthur became revered for respecting the role of the Emperor and the culture of the Japanese people. Both policies were hugely successful in turning former enemies into new allies.

    Some Lessons:

     

    a. A coalition of allies from free countries needs to be in place before a dictator has consolidated his power.

     

    b. Victors should not impose punitive terms on the defeated nations, but respect their cultural differences.

     

    c. Dictators of powerful countries are to be feared more than dictators of weak countries.

     

    3.         The Korean War – 1950-1954

    A miscalculation by the USSR on the seriousness of the US commitment to defend the South Korean government led to the invasion of South Korea by its neighbor to the north. Russian leaders did not believe that defense of the Korean Peninsula was of vital interest to the US when they encouraged the North Koreans to invade the South.

     The US involvement was enabled when the USSR walked out of the Security Council meeting authorizing the “Police Action” against the North Koreans. The subsequent involvement of Red China in sending its troops prevented the takeover of the entire Korean Peninsula by the South Korean government. This marked the emergence of Communist China as a global power, and the development of North Korea under the totalitarian regime of Kim Il Song, and his successor, his son Kim Jong Il,  as one of the most isolated and dangerous nations in the world today.

     

                Sadly, this “Forgotten War” is now mainly remembered because of M.A.S.H.

    Some Lessons:

     

                a.         Be careful what diplomatic signals are being sent.

               

    b.         Don’t commit to a ground war where your opponent has unlimited

    infantry available and little concern for loss of life.

               

    4.         Cuba – The Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis - 1962.

    Fidel Castro rode into Havana on a tank on January 1, 1959 as the head of a popular movement to overthrow the corrupt government of Fulgencio Batista. Since then, with charismatic leadership qualities and by brutally suppressing any opposition, El Primo has managed to stay in power. In 1960, acceding to the recommendations of his advisors and Cuban refugees that Castro could be easily overthrown, the newly elected President Kennedy launched the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion.

    Their expectation that the Cuban/American troops would be received with open arms by the suppressed population proved to be an illusion. There is an eerily familiar ring to this horrendous miscalculation. However, in a difficult and brave decision, President Kennedy beat back the threat of a nuclear armed Cuba with the famous blockade.

    Subsequently, the U.S. imposed an embargo, forbidding most trade between the countries and the status is largely unchanged today. This policy has played into the hands of the large Cuban refugee population in South Florida who are seeking the return of their expropriated property upon the overthrow of the Castro regime. This dream has kept the embargo and enmity between the two countries alive far longer than was ever justified. 

    The Simple Solution to the Cuban issue is to remove the embargo and welcome the Cuban people into the civilized world whenever they change their government

    Some Lessons:

     

    a. Leaders should get second opinions from sources other than the CIA about the feasibility and risk/rewards from covert action. 

               

    b. Don’t let domestic political considerations influence US foreign policy.

     

    5.         The Second Indo-China War – (Viet Nam) 1954-1975

    Despite Dwight Eisenhower’s caution about sending American troops to fight a land war in Asia, President Kennedy began assigning “Advisors” to Viet Nam in 1961 to prevent the takeover of South Viet Nam by the Communist Hanoi regime and the continuation of the “domino effect” so feared by John Foster Dulles. With a great loss of life largely by American conscripts, the war became increasingly unpopular at home, ending in the decision by Lyndon Johnson not to seek reelection.

    The series of blunders made by all three administrations involved, namely Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, ended with the capture of the Presidential Palace in Saigon on April 30th, 1975. This humiliating defeat was indelibly ingrained by pictures of American helicopters leaving the US Embassy roof. Only a handful of those who sought refuge from the expected retribution by the victorious National Liberation Front (i.e. North Viet Nam) were able to escape.

    The effect of the Viet Nam defeat, with 58,191 American dead and 153,303 wounded had a profound influence on the American public and the military establishment for the next fifteen years. Ironically, today the unified Viet Nam, still under control of the Hanoi government, has become a prosperous country with a free market economy and good relations with its former enemy and the western world.

    Some Lessons:

    a. Western powers should not engage in a land war in South East Asia.

               

    b. It is difficult to defeat a regime that has the support of a majority of the people.

     

    c. The American public has no stomach for a drawn out war. The nightly report of casualties, will raise the public sentiment to “Bring our Boys Home”, which in a democracy, is politically very difficult to overcome.

     

    6.         The First Gulf War – 1990 - 1991

    The major legacy of the defeat in Viet Nam was fifteen years of malaise in the U.S. military. However, again there was a miscalculation by an opponent, this time Saddam Hussein, in which he underestimated the American commitment to defend our major interests in the region. The war began with the invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and Iraq’s forces quickly seized control of the country.

    Within days, the U.S. and the UN both demanded Iraq’s immediate withdrawal. When this was rejected, the US began assembling a coalition of major countries and began to deploy major forces to the area. The following months involved intensive negotiations between the UN countries and the Iraq regime, during which time the combined military forces built up a massive force and perfected war plans.

    When the negotiations failed, on January 16, 1991 the Allied forces began a devastating bombing attack on Iraq’s military forces and infrastructure. This campaign continued until February 23rd, when the American led forces launched a ground attack on Kuwait city and reached as far as Basra. Within three days the remains of the Iraqi forces were in full rout, and were being pounded by Allied air strikes.

    On February 27th President Bush, acting on the advice of his military commanders and the leaders of Saudi Arabia, ordered the cease fire. On March 3rd the Iraq government accepted these terms and the conflict was ended. It was an overwhelming victory. Current estimates place Iraqi dead at about 20,000 military and 2,300 civilian dead, and many wounded. The Allied forces lost 148 killed in action and 458 wounded.

    There has been a great deal of subsequent criticism of the decision to stop the war at this point and not go on to Baghdad and topple the hateful regime of Saddam Hussein. Given the fact that we are now engaged in a war to accomplish exactly that (plus some other ancillary objectives), it is an easy exercise in “Monday morning quarterbacking” to attack this decision. These critics ignore the circumstances which existed at the time.

    First, the American military, chastened by the drawn out conflict and defeat in Viet Nam, wanted a specific objective to be accomplished by this war. This was established as the liberation of Kuwait. Although the victory was overwhelming, and no doubt some of the forces could have moved on to Baghdad, certainly the logistical support for the occupation of a city of some four million people was not available at the time (and may not be today). Further, we did not then have the intelligence and military assets to find and take out Saddam Hussein directly.

    Second, the war could not have been waged without the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which was the staging ground for the conflict. The Royal Family was not interested in seeing the replacement of the Sunni-led government in Iraq by a Shiite regime. The Shi’ites are strongly resentful of the Saudi control over the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and the pro-Western culture (read decadence) of the Saudi royals. In short, the Saudi bases would likely not been available to the Allied forces to continue the war.

     

    Some Lessons:

     

    a. When one starts a war, it is best to have thorough planning, overwhelming power, and carefully defined objectives and an exit strategy.

     

    b. Establish firm objectives for the military and stick with them.


     

    II.                                  CURRENT CONFLICTS

    1.         Israel vs. Palestine – 1945 to date

    If you wish to go back far enough, the origins of the conflict can be said to begin in Biblical times, when the Philistines (mainly Greeks) clashed with the Jewish settlers moving up from the Sinai into the Fertile Crescent. However, the creation of the modern state of Israel is usually attributed to the efforts of Chaim Weizman, who in 1917 persuaded the English Foreign Secretary, James Arthur Balfour, of the merits of the Zionist cause and to endorse a new homeland for the Jewish people. Balfour, a devout Christian, was a great admirer of the Jewish people and was very sympathetic to their cause.

    However, in announcing his intent to achieve a National Home for the Jewish People, he was well aware of the potential for conflict, and added the provision in the Balfour Agreement, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”. This caveat has been conveniently ignored by successive Israeli governments.

    With the need for a place to resettle the survivors of the holocaust of WWII, and the historic support of the UK government and the American Jewish community, the State of Israel was formed on May 14, 1948 from an area carved out of the British administrative mandate of Palestine just before its expiration.  

    The process of creating a new nation on lands owned by others cannot be done without engendering great bitterness from the dispossessed. Injecting a group of highly motivated European Jewish settlers, many survivors of the Holocaust, into a virtual sea of Arabs could only exacerbate the problem. This has certainly shown to be the case.

    It has now been 51 years since its founding of Israel, and the existence of the State of Israel is a fait accompli. The country has survived continuous series of wars and terrorist attacks continuing to this day. Israel now has a population of 6.3 million, of which 80% are Jewish settlers and the remaining 1.3 million Israeli Arabs, all living in an area about the size of New Jersey.

    The West Bank, the so-called Occupied Territories, has an area about the size of Delaware with a population of 3.9 million, of which 83% are Arabs and 17% Jewish settlers in some 242 separate settlements. Gaza packs 1.4 million Arabs in an area somewhat larger than Washington, D.C.  

    There is little doubt that Israel could not have made it this far without the military and financial support of the US, now running about $5.billion per year. This unflinching support for the past 51 years has poisoned the attitudes of the Palestinians and much of the rest of the Arab world towards the American government. The bitterness of the Palestinians towards Israel is understandable. Their major grievances include:

    a.         The displacement of the Palestinians from their homes in 1948;

    b.         The humiliation of the series of military defeats suffered at the hands of the American-equipped Israeli armed forces;

    c.         The resentment of the occupation of their homeland by another country with the resultant painful restrictions on normal life;

    d.         The huge disparity in the relative economic situation. In the Occupied Territories there is a 50% unemployment rate and 81% of the people live below the poverty line.

    Thomas A. Friedman, perhaps the best and least biased commentator on the region, has written that, of all of the reasons cited above, the humiliation of a once-proud and prosperous people probably creates the most deep seated animosity. During the past 51 years of Israeli control, two generations of young Palestinians have grown up in the Occupied Territories. They are mostly unemployed and uneducated, and despise the situation in which they find themselves. They see the source of their oppression as both Israel and the US, which has provided the tanks, Apache helicopters and other military equipment to the Israeli armed forces. The Palestinians have no comparable weapons with which to fight back, except to resort to terrorism. This is essentially the same profile as the young Saudis who participated in the 9/11 attacks. That is scary.

    The usual Israeli answer to all these issues is that it is not their fault. If the Arabs would only agree to recognize the existence of Israel, live in peace and stop the terrorist attacks, all of these issues could be addressed. This may be intellectually sensible, but inaccurate. If the State of Israel had not been created, the situation would not exist.  The reality is that Israel was created, does exist, and the policies followed by successive Israeli governments have created far too much emotional baggage and perceived wrongs for this solution to be easily accepted.

    Further, it has not been in the self interest of the Palestinian leadership to accept any of the peaceful solutions offered. Yassir Arafat’s entire career as the key spokesman for the Palestinians was intended to magnify the inequities created by Israel and its US supporters on the hapless Palestinian people. He was not about to relinquish that role, no matter how attractive the deals offered, including the generous proposals from Prime Minister Barak and in the Oslo accords. His successors, the cynical leaders of Hamas based in Syria, care little about the plight of the people as long as they can continue to foment the discord.

    Probably the large, silent majority of the Palestinian people do want peace with Israel. However, the new government of Palestine, including their police force, is too weak to control terrorism even it wanted to. In this situation the historic Israeli precondition for the government to stop terrorist attacks before any concessions are made is a cynical “Catch-22” non-starter.

    The Israeli leadership is not blameless in this situation. The right wing Likud Party envisions the expansion of Israel to its historic Samaria and Judea boundaries. In pursuit of this goal it has created 275 Jewish settlements within the West Bank and has continuously annexed Palestinian land to provide room for the expansion of the Jewish population.

    This is not a happy scenario. However, in the past two years there were signs of progress. The decision of Ariel Sharon to unilaterally withdraw from Gaza was an act of statesmanship. The free Palestinian elections were another step forward, although the world was distressed that they chose Hamas as their new leaders. An aside to George W. Bush – free elections do not always produce the results anticipated!

    The Hezbollah Attacks

    The progress towards a peaceful settlement was not in the interests of Hezbollah, who have assumed the mantle of Yassir Arafat in fomenting strife with Israel. After a small incursion captured two Israeli reservists, on July 11th Hezbollah launched a barrage of short range missiles from Southern Lebanon into Northern Israel. These attacks are continuing as this is written. The Israeli response included ferocious air strikes on infrastructure targets and the Shi’ite section of Beirut aimed at destroying Hezbollah. The response has now escalated to a full fledged war, with Israel pulverizing many cities in Lebanon and invading the south to establish a so-called buffer zone.

    Sheik Hassan Hasrallah, the 46 year old charismatic leader of Hezbollah, claims their objective is to protect the people of Lebanon. This is total hypocrisy.  Lebanon was considered the most civilized and Western nation in the Middle East, with Beirut often called the “Paris of the Orient”.

    Hezbollah is essentially a Shi’ite organization largely funded by Iran and about 60% of the Lebanese population is Shi’ite. The attacks on Israel have little to do with the Palestinian/Israeli situation. The Islamic Republic of Iran advocates the complete destruction of the Zionists and the formation of a new Caliphate over the entire region, and then the world. These fundamentalist clerics despise the Western civilization as corrupt and immoral.

    Thus, this war is not between two sovereign nations, but more of a clash between two branches of Islam, Sunni and Shi’ite, each fighting for dominance. This situation was described by Vali Nasr, an Iranian ex-pat who is now Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Professor Nasr has briefed high level U.S. officials, including President Bush.

    It is truly a classic example of the “Clash of Civilizations” described by Samuel B. Huntington. The war is being fought by proxies on both sides. The Iranians are using Syria and Lebanon as their surrogates to attack Israel, and the United States, with few supporters elsewhere, continues to back Israel. Although Israel could be considered a model for democracy and economic development in the Middle East, given its six decades of bitter history with its Arab neighbors it is probably the worst possible surrogate to expound the virtues of Western Civilization. 

     Summary:

    With the Hezbollah attacks, the government of Ehud Olmert reverted to its old form – pound the hell out of a defenseless people until the international community becomes involved to halt the attacks and thereby guarantee the continued sovereignty of Israel. This Israeli response will inspire a new set of terrorists and set the stage to renew the cycle of violence. The violence is likely to continue for another 50 years until the Palestinian kids have a life to look forward to other than simple vengeance.

    It is ironic that the more Israel arms continue to demolish the infrastructure and kill civilians in Lebanon, the more hatred they create. Israel has succeeded in totally marginalizing the moderate elements in the Islamic world, and have turned not only the Muslims but most of European and the rest of the world against it. The fact that the Bush administration has so far resisted calls for a cease fire has been almost universally condemned, further isolating the U.S. This has been the worst policy disaster of the Bush administration.

     

    Some Lessons:

    a. Do not create countries from land one does not own, for “Ye shall reap what ye have sown”.

    b. As the leading military power in the area, forbearance and generosity is required by Israel if they ever hope to heal the hatreds developed from the founding and occupation of Arab lands.

     

    The Simple Solution

    Two words – Palestinian Prosperity - hold the key to the Palestinian situation and much of the Middle East. Prior to the WW II, Palestine was relatively a prosperous Mediterranean country. The people were renowned traders (often referred to as the “Jews of the Levant”) who lived in peace with their neighbors. Today, the West Bank and Gaza are desperately poor with most living below the poverty level. A few Palestinian workers cross into Israel to go to work in low level jobs.

    There are a number of highly successful and peaceful countries in the world that are ruled by authoritarian regimes. Singapore is a classic example. Under the tight control of Lee Kuan Yew, the country has prospered enormously, and the population, with a high standard of living and opportunities for self-betterment, is very content. Most of the South East Asia “Tigers” are following this example.

    What is needed is to unify the countries commercially, create legitimate businesses within the West Bank and Gaza with partnerships between Israeli and Palestinian businessmen. There are practical individuals on both sides of the Wall, and the economic – (certainly not political) - combination of the two counties would create more viable and faster growing economies for both people. The great commercial success of  Beirut, Dubai and Bahrain have shown that Arabs – with Western expertise - can create world class enterprises, basically secular in structure and free from the anger that presently consumes the Levant.

    Is this just a dream? Maybe. But the best way to defuse the present situation is to offer some ray of hope for a better life. As Tom Friedman has pointed out, ‘The World is Flat”, and there is no reason that the literate and entrepreneurial Palestinians cannot be a part of this flattening process. Perhaps some prominent Jewish philanthropists could direct part of their ample resources towards this objective. That would be a great and symbolic start which could begin to offset the negative image of the attitudes of the Jewish people towards their Palestinian neighbors. However, don’t hold your breath.

    2.         The “War of Terror” – 1979 to date – World War III

    With the statement “Death to America” by Ayotollah Khomeini in 1979, followed by the attack on the American Embassy in Teheran (in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participated as student leader), the war of terror on the United States has been waged continually for some 27 years. Since that time some 20 separate attacks have been launched by terrorists in and outside the U.S. killing over 800 people before the World Trade Center disaster of 9/11. Perhaps this scenario may have played differently had the Marines actually defended the U.S. Embassy rather than surrender and submit to the 444 days of blackmail by the Iranian government with the resultant loss of respect for the power of the “Great Satan”.

    Since then, terrorist attacks orchestrated by Al Qaeda have been carried out in London, Madrid, Bali and Chechnya, with a considerable loss of life. The effects on the global economies and the loss of our freedoms are an enormous cost. To this extent, the war of terror waged by Islamist militants has been highly effective campaign.

    That sounds like World War III to me.

    Some Lessons:

     

    a. Never allow any mob to take over an American Embassy. All embassies and consulates are considered the property of their own governments, and an attack constitutes an act of war. It is the obligation of the host nation to prevent such attacks, and tacit acquiescence to a mob attack confirms that this is their intent. By this criterion, we have been at war with Iran since 1979.

     

    b. Surrender only emboldens the mob and causes further lose of respect. The military and diplomats should resist to the death. This is part of their job description. Of course, retribution for such an attack should be prompt and sufficiently painful to deter similar adventures.

     

    c. With our “smart” aerial weaponry, targeted response can be made almost immediately. All foreign governments, the American people and the serving diplomats and the military should be made aware of this policy. The embassy guards should not be under the control of the State Department. 

    3.         Afghanistan – The War Against the Taliban - 2001 to date

    Afghanistan is a landlocked country about the size of Texas which has been a battleground between outside forces since (and before) its founding in 1747. As a result, the Afghani people are renowned warriors, which both the British and Russians learned to their chagrin.

    In December, 1979 the Soviets invaded with a force of some 30,000 troops, which, reminiscent of the American experience in Viet Nam, eventually rose to some 100,000 troops. The Afghan resistance forces, the mujahidin, were supported by weapons and financial aid provided by the US, China and Saudi Arabia. Eventually this improved weaponry, especially the shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles diminished the Soviets technical superiority. These had their effect, and over the ten year period 15,000 Russian soldiers were killed and another 37,000 wounded. Needless to say, the war was unpopular on the home front, and in 1988 Mikhail Gorbachev announced the withdrawal of the Soviet troops.

    However, the ten year war had decimated the Afghan people and economy. Over one million Afghans died and another five million fled the country, primarily to Pakistan. This situation created a political void, and led to the rise of the Taliban forces. The Taliban, an extreme Sunni fundamentalist group largely sponsored by Pakistan, seized control of Kabul in 1996 and established control over most of the country by 1998. It also became the refuge and training center for Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorists.

    The al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001 became the call to battle for the United States, and George W. Bush seized the opportunity to declare a “War on Terrorism” which has become the defining policy of his administration. The first logical target was to eliminate the Al Qaeda bases and their Taliban patrons, which could only be accomplished with an invasion of Afghanistan.

    Given the sorry experience of the British and Russians in previous attempts, this plan was met with considerable skepticism. However, because of the world-wide sympathy from the World Trade Center attacks, the US was able to assemble considerable military and political support for the project. The coalition was composed of military forces from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand, Italy and Germany, working together with the Northern Alliance forces of Afghanistan. The UN backed the operation with Security Council resolutions demanding that the government turn over Osama Bin Laden or face the consequences.

    Operation Enduring Freedom, as the mission to liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban forces turned out to be a text book military action. With the support of the Northern Alliance troops, who did most of the early ground fighting, and the massive air superiority, the war which began on October 7, 2001, less than one month after the al-Qaeda attacks, was essentially concluded March 6, 2002 five months later.

    With the defeat of the fundamentalist Taliban regime, personal liberty was restored; women shed the veil and began attending schools. A new constitution was adopted and on December 7, 2004 Hamid Karzai became the first democratically elected President of Afghanistan. The reconstruction process is ongoing, and the country has major economic problems. Its major export is opium, which is, of course, good for the producers but very bad for the consumers.

    The major event since the invasion in 2002 was the takeover of command of operations in southern Afghanistan by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on July 31, 2006. This is was the heart of the Taliban movement, and there remains resistance to the change in government. However, the displacement of the American forces (ex those attached to NATO) can be considered a major diplomatic achievement.

    Some Lessons:

     

    a. It is far easier to undertake foreign military operations with world wide popular support.

     

     

    4.         The Second Iraq War – 2002 to date

    Lastly, there is Iraq. This unfortunate country is now the Poster Child for the results of a misguided effort for the removal of a brutal dictator, Saddam Hussein, from power. There was a whole smorgasbord of reasons which contributed to the decision to invade Iraq. No doubt, the relatively quick success of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan enhanced the confidence in the American military.  The fact that no nuclear WMD were found does not disprove the fact that Saddam’s regime was certainly trying to acquire them (See “Saddam’s Bomb Maker”). Some of the other “reason theories” advanced were to (a) acquire Iraqi oil; (b) avenge the botched assassination attempt on GHWB (# 41), and (c) use Iraq as the model state to spread democracy in the Middle East.

    This last scenario was envisioned by Paul Wolfowitz and his colleagues in The Project for the New American Century. This organization, which includes Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, amongst other prominent conservatives, obviously has been influential in setting the objectives and tone of the Bush administration.  Each of these reasons, and others, were input into the “Go” decision to invade Iraq as well as the very legitimate desire to end the horrendous regime of Saddam Hussein. However, it is very clear that George W. Bush was pre-disposed for the invasion and thereby become a wartime president.

     

    Whatever the original objectives, the fact is that the United States is indeed in Iraq. The problem is how to make the best of a bad situation without a defined end game and exit with the best possible results.

     In the lingo of the “vulture” capitalists, “What is the “Exit Strategy”? Certainly it appears our leaders had not read nor learned the historic lessons from the conflicts cited above. Although the conflict is ongoing, some of the lessons set forth above appear to be applicable to the current conflict.

     

    Some Lessons:

     

    a.         The US perceives itself as liberators, but most of the Iraqi people regard us as “Occupiers” and want us gone. Don’t become an occupying power.

     

    b.         The American public, as in Viet Nam, cannot stomach a drawn out international conflict unless the US is gravely and directly threatened.

     

    c.         The concept of establishing Iraq as the base to spread “democracy” is fatally flawed. It is an attempt to impose a new culture on a people who are quite content with their own way of doing things. 


                          

    III.                         INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGES

    The 21st Century Problem

    By far the most vexing situation facing the civilized world is potential major damage that can be inflicted by small groups of fanatical individuals that are inspired by their leaders to create terror, often involving suicide, to achieve their objectives. The effects caused by the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 have been profound, and can be considered to mark the beginning of a new focus in international affairs for the 21st Century.

    The “War on Terrorism”

    It has been pointed out that by strict definition, terrorism per se is not an enemy, and it is a technique employed by our enemies. We call groups that use terrorism to achieve their aims “terrorists”; to those on the other side they are martyrs. Further, terrorism usually implies the indiscriminate killing of non-combatants, such as in cafes, buses, etc.

    The ubiquitous roadside bombs in Iraq are usually aimed at military targets, and passive mines have been an accepted method of warfare for many years, and like the very effective Kamikaze strikes in WWII, sailors and soldiers are considered legitimate combatants, thus, the “War on Terrorism” properly should be called the “War on Terrorists”. However, this administration is not known for its careful use of the language, and apparently has decided that the slogan, “War on Terrorism” has more traction with the great unwashed electorate. However, this Clintonesque parsing of words is largely irrelevant.

    Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

    Although the focus of many leaders is on weapons of mass destruction, namely atomic, biological and chemical devices, the attack on the World Trade Center did not make use of any of these weapons, but rather the hijacking of four airliners in a coordinated attack. Many other “civilian” facilities are potentially highly destructive, such as oil and LNG tankers, power generation facilities, containers, etc. Each could be used to create large destruction, even if not on the massive level of an atomic, biological or chemical attack.

    When the media describe WMD, most people think of nuclear weapons, generally forgetting that nuclear weapons much harder to obtain and more difficult to use (i.e. a delivery system). The bombings in London, Madrid and Bali were carried out by terrorists with readily available explosives. Although they did not result in mass destruction, these attacks are harder to prevent and certainly had wide adverse effect. They are the weapons of choice of terrorists.

    IV.                         RELIGION IN WORLD AFFAIRS

    The Role of Religion 

    It is obvious for even the casual observer that the major source of international conflicts today is the different religions of large segments of the world population. This is not a new phenomenon. Over the course of history religious wars have probably killed more people than any other cause

    The apparent reason for the development of the organized religions is to provide answers to the eternal questions of who created the universes and why we are here. Across the centuries men have offered various solutions to this quest. Philosophers like Moses, Jesus and Mohammed became revered or deified, and their disciples or followers created great organizations which became the three monotheistic religions.

    The enormous respect for these individuals, and the solutions they offered, became codified in large man-made organizations called Judaism, Christianity and lastly, Islam. The great Eastern religions – Buddhist, Hindu, Shinto, Confucian and many splinter groups- developed along more passive lines and today do not represent any threat to the civilized world. To their followers these leaders offered not the proof of a hereafter, but a belief in an eternal life spent in either heaven or hell. They then set forth codes of conduct in the Talmud, Bible and Koran which proscribe the paths to follow to reach these alternate afterlife destinations. Notably missing are realistic descriptions of either of these destinations. 

    But of these great religions, only Islam today represents an aggressive threat to world peace. Why?

    Islamic Fundamentalism

    The civilized world is facing a challenge from a group of individuals who have as their objective the replacement of Western Civilization by an Islamic theocracy, the re-establishment of the Caliphate. In short, the major threat to world peace today is Islamic fundamentalism. Is this a mere prejudice?

    We see no use of terrorism by Christians, Buddhists, or most other religions (albeit Indian Muslims and Hindus continue to clash periodically). Similarly the Chinese, Indians and the other Far East “Tigers” are too busy trying - and succeeding - to bring their countries into the modern world through education, hard work and commercial competencies.

    Islam is the one major religion in the world that considers non-believers as “Infidels”, (which can include both Shi’ites and Sunnis to each other) and certainly includes all people of other faiths. Infidels who do not convert to Islam are fair game, and any Koranic passages instructing “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is conveniently waived for non-believers. Apparently killing another human being is OK if done to spread Islam.

    Traditional Islam is not a beneficent religion. Mohammed was a warrior, and his Messengers (i.e. disciples) spread the new religion not through passive example as the Christian martyrs, Buddha, Baha’Ullah and Gandhi, but through force and conquest. While certainly not all Muslims are terrorists, and it is politically incorrect to offend anyone by calling the religion what it is, the fact remains that all of the terrorist attacks, including the military attacks in Somalia,  have been carried out by Islamic organizations. If these attacks were perpetrated by a small and isolated group of deranged individuals, one would rightly expect a huge outcry condemning the attacks by the Muslim clerics and governments. Their response has been, at best, muted, and then only forthcoming, if at all, after intensive prodding by Western governments.

    Spreading the Faith

    The historic method to spread Islam was through the use of their extraordinary military prowess. However, to achieve their goal of a global Islamic theocracy in a world where they do not possess the military power to do so by conquest, Islamic clerics and their supporters still have two very effective weapons at their disposal, namely the use of terrorism, as described above, and secondly, demographics.

    The traditional means to spread Islam is a deliberately contrived strategy to conquer through demographics. This idea is simple, and highly effective…keep the women isolated at home, uneducated, and oppressed, where they can start bearing children with the onset of puberty and continue to generate new offspring as long as they are able. The result is that in one generation – a period of twenty-five years – Islamic families can produce five or more children vs. a birthrate which, in many Western countries, is failing to even sustain their population numbers. It has resulted in large scale redistribution of the secular makeup of Europe, with the Muslim population in some countries now exceeding twenty percent. The success and threat of this strategy is vividly described by Oriana Falacci in her book, “The Force of Reason”.

    In the view of the fundamentalist Islamic clerics, the traditional values established by Mohammed in the 7th Century are superior to the “decadence” of the West, and the only true path is to create governments run as Islamic theocracies. There is no division of church and state in Islam. Even moderate Western Muslims envisage a world which has been converted to Islam. This is truly a scary .prospect for the non-Islamic civilizations. 

    The Other Religions

    While Islam today is the current major danger to the civilized world, other religions certainly are not without their historic baggage. Christianity was spread by the swords of the Spanish Conquistadors throughout South America. The Crusades to recapture Jerusalem from the Arabs are still used by Al Qaeda and other Islamic fanatics as a reminder of the aggressive acts of Christians. The Inquisition was no Sunday school picnic for those branded heretics. However, these events occurred centuries ago, and the expansion of the Christian faith is now being done by Catholic, Protestant and Mormon missionaries who have performed many wonderful works of humanitarian assistance, often at great personal risk.

    Similarly, Mahatma Gandhi set an example for Hindus and others on how to change authoritarian rule through passive resistance. Buddhism is the classic example of peaceful, non-violent religion, and the Ba’Hai faith welcomes individuals of all religions who renounce violence.

    The Oriental faiths, primarily Confucianism and Shintoism, are no longer aggressive. The historic lesson is that as the Islamic community prospers and becomes more sectarian and less rigid, its followers will become integrated into the civilized world. The problem is how to convert the 7th Century mentality into the modern world.

     

    Reza Aslan, a contemporary Islamic scholar, concluded in his book, “No god but God”, that the real conflict is not the “Clash of Civilizations” as described by Samuel Huntington, but the clash within Islam itself. He describes an internal conflict between the fundamentalists, primarily the Wahabbi sect, and the moderates in the other three branches of Islam that seek to bring Islam into the 21st Century. We hope he is correct and that the pressure within the religion can control its fanatical element. To date this has not been the case and there appears to be little chance for this outcome any time soon.

                           

    Proposed New Credo:

     

    God (and/or Allah – whoever he or she may be)……

     

    Save us from religious fanatics, of all faiths!

                           

                           


    V.                   DESPOTS AND THE ROGUE STATES

    Despots, Dictators, Autocrats, Tyrants & Oppressors

    These terms are used interchangeably to describe individuals who are invested with absolute authority and rule without restrictions from constitutions or laws. Although there are circumstances which may limit their degree of power, the reality is that the rulers of far too many countries have obtained a position of power over their constituents that enable them to control their lives in a way that is unacceptable to civilized people.

    Countries that come under control of ruthless individual such as Hitler, Kim Jong Il and more recently, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, stand by and watch as the legal safeguards are dismantled enabling their new leaders to assume absolute and lifetime control. The list of these countries includes many of the UN member countries who have signed the charter pledging peace among their neighbors, as long as they can operate without restrictions within their own borders.

    To secure immunity from outside forces opposed to their regimes, some of these countries are pursuing the development of weapons of mass destruction together with delivery systems or sales to terrorist organizations. These countries have become “Rogue States”.

    The Rogue States

    Although many countries in the world have authoritarian governments, my definition of rogue states are those that have an authoritarian government, possess or have the potential to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and are actively attacking the interests of the United States and other countries of the free world. The current list of “Rogue Nations” includes Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. Of course, Iraq was in this category until the Coalition attacks toppled the government of Saddam Hussein.

    1.         Iran

    Iran is an oil-rich country with the crude oil reserves estimated at 133 billion barrels. It produces about 4 million bpd of which 2.4 million bpd are exported. At present prices the sales generate about $50 billion annually and the country has cash reserves of over $40 billion. Although flush with crude oil, Iran has a shortage in refinery capacity, and is heavily dependent upon the import of gasoline and diesel fuel to keep its cars and truck running and the people relatively content. That is why Iran is desperate to avoid UN sanctions.

    With the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Prime Minister over the rich and relatively conservative Rafsanjani, the electorate chose a populist theocratic demagogue as their leader. Despite its oil wealth, the vast majority of Iran’s 40 million people are very poor. They are easy prey for Islamic fundamentalists. 

     

    Since his election Ahmadinejad has consolidated his power and moved the country farther towards the conservative Shi’ite theocracy of Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini. In this process he as exacerbated the relations with the West and proceeded with their plans to develop a nuclear capability.

    Of course, Iran claims it only wants nuclear technology for domestic power generation, and no doubt some would be so used. However, as most of the world believes, its real reason is to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran has some legitimate reasons to want to acquire a nuclear capability, primarily to decrease domestic consumption of their oil reserves to gain more revenues from export. However, probably its most important motivation is prestige. Iranians prize their Persian heritage. Each of their neighbors – Russia, Israel, Pakistan and India has nuclear weapons and they see no reason why they should not have them as well. With their oil wealth and the conflicts between the Shi’ite and Sunni branches of Islam, (fueled by the resentment of the Sunni control over Mecca & Medina), Iran’s fundamentalist Shi’ite leaders foresee Iran creating a new Islamic Caliphate based in Teheran.

    Abbas Milani, co-director of the Hoover Institution’s Iran Democracy Project, states that “The regime is keen on developing [the bomb] because it sees its own survival dependent upon it. They think that if they have the bomb, they will get the North Korean treatment rather than the Saddam treatment”. He goes on to conclude that… “The most serious consequence is that it would delay the onset of democracy for at least a couple more decades”. [a]

    Israel is terrified of a nuclear armed Iran. Israelis take very seriously the statements of the Prime Minister Ahmadinejad that he would like to blow them off the face of the earth. Even with relatively short range nuclear missiles he could possibly accomplish that objective. The Israelis would no doubt launch a preventative strike to meet this threat. Any such response would be largely attributed to the US (with some reason), thereby really exacerbating our already awful relations in the Muslim world.

    The ongoing support of Hezbollah in Lebanon is no doubt part of Iran’s strategy. It is a Shi’ite organization that has wide popularity with the population and representation in the Lebanese government. As shown in the present conflict with Israel, it also is a potent military force that cannot be easily defeated. The present Iranian regime cannot be displeased to show the rest of the world the potential damage that can be done by its surrogates.

    There is a price to be paid for peace, and it appears that finally the offers of the European countries and Russia to present a lucrative package of economic incentives (usually called “bribes”) may temporarily defuse the situation. This is basically nuclear extortion, and it is the primary reason that both Iran and North Korea want the US (Uncle Sugar) to be present at the negotiation table. Recently President Bush has agreed in principal to US participation with its EU allies and Russia in this overt blackmail scheme. It appears that Ahmadinejad learned his souk trading lessons very well.

    2.        Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea)           

    North Korea is the prime example of an international basket case which has been created by a totalitarian dictatorship. The county has a population of 23 million people with a 99% literacy rate in an area about the size of Mississippi. There is no starker contrast of the effects of two disparate political systems in the world than DPRK and the Republic of South Korea. It is a tragedy for the North Korean people, who certainly share the same culture and work ethic of their prosperous blood relatives to the South, but are ruled by a barbaric government whose only objective is self preservation.

    To insure his power, Kim Jong Il, the weird and unpredictable Chief of State, has squandered their scant resources to create a standing army of over one million, armed with enough missiles with sufficient fire power to devastate Seoul, the capital of South Korea about 20 miles south of the DMZ. However, traditional military forces were not sufficient to achieve Kim Jong Il’s self-preservation objectives. For the past fifteen years DPRK has been trying to develop weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological and nuclear devices. Apparently the DPRK is now within a few years of achieving that objective.   

    On July 4, 2006, the day that the US launched its peaceful space shuttle vehicle Discovery, North Korea test launched a barrage of seven missiles including the ICBM Taepodong 2. This missile has a designed range of about 8,000 miles, capable of hitting the West Coast of the US. Although the rocket blew up shortly after launch, it certainly indicates the seriousness of its intent to develop a delivery system for its nuclear weapons. If the other concerned nations allow this to happen, the DPRK will have achieved its primary objectives, namely to create a deterrent that will keep its megalomaniac ruler in power; and the means to blackmail the outside world for increased economic support.

    After ten days of negotiations, on July 15, 2006 the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed resolution No. 1965 condemning the DPRK for its missile testing program, forbidding the sale and export of nuclear and other technology and requesting that the country rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which it abandoned some time ago. This resolution was not made under the provisions of Chapter 7 of the UN regulations which would have authorized the use of force to assure compliance. This stronger authorization would have been vetoed by China and Russia.

    The possession of atomic weapons certainly is a threat to neighboring countries, but without a long distance delivery system the threat is limited to the sale of weapons to terrorist groups. On October 9, 2006 North Korea detonated a small nuclear device underground, and soon thereafter Kim Jong Il bragged that the country had become a member of the exclusive “Club of Nine” nations that have nuclear weapons. Although both their missile and nuclear programs are still relatively primitive, over time they certainly can develop into very credible threats. The combination of WMD and intercontinental missiles is indeed bad news.

    The foreign policy of DPRK can best be described as another “Roaring Mouse” situation. It is a blatant attempt to force the outside world – mainly the US - to provide economic support to the country to keep the Kim regime in power.

    However, the DPRK does possess one viable threat to U.S. interests. Since the division of the country in 1954 the United States has stationed a large contingent of ground forces, about 40,000 strong, along the DMZ. In the event of an all out invasion from the north, they certainly would be amongst the first troops overrun, albeit with the infliction of heavy casualties on the invaders. These U.S. troops are, in effect, hostages which demand our involvement in the confrontation between the DPRK and South Korea.

    The US forces are there under a treaty arrangement, but the original purpose, essentially to defend the weaker South Korean people from their blood relatives to the north, is no longer valid. After two generations, young Koreans look on the American military as occupiers, and blame much of the world’s troubles on US foreign policy. .

    These agreements should be renegotiated. There is no longer any need for the United States to be involved in a conflict between North and South Korea. This is a problem best solved by the countries most threatened, namely ROK, Japan, China and Russia, or a world organization such as described later.

     

    Some Lessons:

     

    a. Nip a dictatorship situation in the bud before he gains control of the country. Destroy the palaces and, hopefully, the dictator with precision weapons, but do not occupy the country. This will dissuade other would-be dictators

     

    b. Don’t fall for the old “Mouse that Roared” ploy. Ignore the country and let its neighbors – China, Japan and South Korea – solve the problem.

     

    c. Remember U.S. history in dealing with the Barbary pirates – “Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute!”

     

    Simple Solutions:

     

    a. Withdraw all US troops from South Korea as soon as possible (renegotiate treaties if necessary). These troops are, in reality, hostages which enshrines the status quo. Their withdrawal will remove a great deal of leverage of the DPRK on the U.S.

     

    b. To replace this deterrent, the U.S. could provide the ROK Army tactical atomic artillery. Most certainly the US Navy has nuclear equipped submarines stationed offshore. Any attack on South Korea would result in a ‘dead zone” along the northern side of the DMZ, as well as strikes against strategic targets, such as were quickly disabled in the Iraq campaigns.

     

    c. Resolve the situation the old fashioned way – take Jong out! Put out a contract on Kim Jong Il (but not by the U.S – see below).

     

    3.         Iraq

    Lastly, there is Iraq. This unfortunate country is now the Poster Child for the results of a misguided effort to control a rogue state, which it certainly was under Saddam Hussein. The fact that no nuclear WMD were found does not remove the fact that Saddam’s regime was certainly trying to acquire them (See “Saddam’s Bomb Maker”). But there is a whole smorgasbord of reasons which contributed to the decision to invade Iraq. Some of the “reason theories” advanced were to (a) acquire Iraqi oil; (b) avenge the botched assassination attempt on GHWB (# 41), and (c) use Iraq as the model state to spread democracy in the Middle East.

    This last scenario was envisioned by Paul Wolfowitz and his colleagues in The Project for the New American Century. This organization, which includes Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, amongst other prominent conservatives, was very influential in setting the objectives and tone of the Bush administration.  Each of these reasons, and others, were input into the “Go” decision to invade Iraq and end the horrendous regime of Saddam Hussein.

     

    Certainly Iraq would qualify as a rogue state by the above definition. This classification was used to justify the “pre-emptive or “preventative” action by the U.S. and the “Coalition of the Willing” to invade the country, dispose of the dictator, and attempt to create a democratic and secular government in a largely Muslim country. The United States is now, no doubt, in a situation without a defined end game, or in the lingo of the Vulture Capitalists, the “exit strategy”.

    Senator Joe Biden (DEM-DE) supports a proposal first put out by Leslie Gelb, formerly Chairman of the Council of Foreign Affairs. They propose that administrative authority for Iraq be divided between the Kurds, Sunnis and Shi’ites, each running an autonomous region, but with the Iraq oil revenues divided proportionately between the regions according to population. Baghdad would remain the capital of the country, operating the usual functions of a sovereign state, including border defense, international treaties, etc. 

    This very sensible allocation is what the British probably should have done when they first carved up the Middle East in the 1920’s, and it might have saved a lot of grief. It will be difficult to do so at this stage, but it seems the optimum direction to go given the level of animosity between these sectarian segments at this stage.

    Simple Solution

     

    We have gone from being considered liberators to being considered an occupying force. Our principal objective was to remove Saddam Hussein from power. That will be accomplished when he is finally executed by the new Iraqi courts. If at that time in the unlikely event that the Iraqi government has established some sort of stability, it can assume control as envisioned by the utopian planners, we can leave gracefully. If not, we should divide the country into three autonomous regions, and turn the military chores over to an international force, such as NATO in Afghanistan. If they choose not to participate, we should “declare victory” and withdraw anyway.

     

    Summary - Dealing with Rogue States:

    1. Don’t threaten them orally. Threatening a country is the surest way to rally the people around a leader who otherwise would be widely unpopular and much more likely to be overthrown.

     

    2. The U.S. should not enter into direct negotiations with rogue nations. Direct negotiations add to the prestige and internal political power of the dictator. It is exactly what he is trying to achieve, and is diametrically opposed to our objectives. It is giving into extortion, and what the really want is our money and to be seen by their citizens as standing up to the “Big Satan”. 

     

    3. Essentially treat them as naughty children. When they grow up and stop behaving badly, they will be rewarded. Until then, make them stand in the corner or sit them on a dunce chair.

     

    4. Lastly, if they really appear about to do something bad, like illicit production of atomic weapons, or the threat launch ICBM’s or  to sell WMD to terrorists then by all means use the military option to destroy that capability before it is used,  or better still, kill the dictator. Replay pictures of how US air strikes took out Al Zarkawi.


    VI.                                    STRATEGIC ISSUES

    Introduction

    As shown by our involvement in the conflicts described above, American foreign policy has long alternated between isolationist and global views of the world. Because of our good fortune in being blessed with self-sufficiency in most resources, and our geographic location between two oceans which provided defense against attack, the American public is not known for their concerns with foreign affairs,

    The Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

    PNAC is an organization founded in 1997 by a group of prominent neo-conservatives including Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush (the intellectual brother of the President), Steve Forbes and Donald Rumsfeld. All of these individuals except Mr. Forbes presently are in high places in the current administration. It can be assumed that their policy decisions actions are based guided by the objectives of PNAC.

    The basic premise of the organization is to actively spread American values. Because of America’s predominant military and economic power, they believe it is an opportunity and responsibility of the American government to take actions that will achieve this goal. Their Statement of Principals says “The history of the 20th Century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge and to meet threats before they become dire”. This certainly sounds like justification for the invasion of any country presumed to have WMD. An example comes readily to mind.

    However, this activist approach certainly appears to be in conflict with a basic premise of Samuel Huntington, that these other cultures have different values than ours, and they are quite content to keep them.  To Islamic clerics, the Western world is decadent (and they have a point there …e.g. widespread pornography) and to them it appears that America is trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. Actually, even in the free world, Islam is spreading faster than Christianity!  Obviously, they perceive the spreading of our values as a dire threat to their religion, and the loss of their status, perquisites, and control over their people. For the clerics, this is worth fighting to defend. In the cases of both Iran and Iraq, we have observed that this is indeed the case.

    Certainly, the desire to spread our Western values is a noble objective. But is the use of force and outside coercion the best way to achieve this objective? Judging from the situation in Iraq, there obviously must be a better way.

    The Arrogance of Power

    In his book, The Arrogance of Power, written in 1966 primarily in condemnation of the Viet Nam war, Senator J. W. Fulbright provided some insights which appear relevant to the current American foreign policy. Some quotations:

    Throughout our history two strands have coexisted uneasily; a dominant strand of democratic humanism and a lesser but durable strand of intolerant Puritanism. There has been a tendency through the years for reason and moderation to prevail as long as things are going tolerably well or as long as our problems seem clear and finite and manageable. But... when some event or leader of opinion has aroused the people to a state of high emotion, our puritan spirit has tended to break through, leading us to look at the world through the distorting prism of a harsh and angry moralism.”

    Fulbright also related his opposition to any American tendencies to intervene in the affairs of other nations:

    Power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is particularly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations — to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence. Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God's work.

    He was also a strong believer in international law:

    Law is the essential foundation of stability and order both within societies and in international relations. As a conservative power, the United States has a vital interest in upholding and expanding the reign of law in international relations. Insofar as international law is observed, it provides us with stability and order and with a means of predicting the behavior of those with whom we have reciprocal legal obligations. When we violate the law ourselves, whatever short-term advantage may be gained, we are obviously encouraging others to violate the law; we thus encourage disorder and instability and thereby do incalculable damage to our own long-term interests.

    The Clash of Civilizations

    Samuel P. Huntington called this situation “The Clash of Civilizations”, the title of his famous article written in Foreign Affairs in 1993. His hypothesis is that the difference in cultures between the major cultures, namely Western, Islamic, Chinese and Japanese, will dominate global politics for the foreseeable future. Probably the dominant differences between these four cultures are race, religion and prosperity.

    The message that Samuel Huntington is propounding is that it is extremely difficult to impose a different culture on a country or its population. They usually have been “brainwashed” since childhood in the habits and traditions of their families and friends and are quite content to live with this heritage.

    This is not to say that there will be no changes. The Western way of life is enormously attractive to most young people, who love the openness, music, blue jeans, computers, cars, and women in various stages of undress. Apparently, the word “Sex” is the word most entered in the web search engines in the Arab countries.

    I am very optimistic that ultimately the Western civilization will prevail over all countries with theocratic governments. 

     

    Sovereignty

    The traditional concept of national sovereignty is obsolete. Richard A. Harris, in his book “The Opportunity” lists four qualities that make a state sovereign: (1) The right to use legitimate force within its borders; (2) the right to control its borders and what goes in and out of the country; (3) the right to adopt the foreign and domestic policies it chooses, and (4) a sovereign state is one so recognized by its peers. Under these criteria, the governments of sovereign states have the right to do whatever they want to their own peoples without any interference from outsiders. No wonder dictators and despots wrap themselves in the protective cloak of sovereignty as they torture dissidents and their family members to maintain power.

    The more logical concept of sovereignty is that it is a condition to be conveyed with the consent of the citizen of the country. If there is not a “Government of the people, by the people and for the people”, as succinctly expressed by Abraham Lincoln, then that government should not be considered a sovereign state. In short, the status of sovereignty should be conveyed by the governed to their country, not the other way around.  

    Displacing Despots

    One of the most difficult challenges facing the civilized world is how to reform or replace the worst despots who oppress their people and/or threaten their neighbors. The peaceful means usually advocated by the UN are economic sanctions against the country. These seldom have the intended effect. As illustrated in the infamous Iraq “Oil for Food” program, economic sanctions hurt the population but seldom affect the rulers. Saddam Hussein continued building new palaces while his fellow countrymen were starving.

    After years of ethnic cleansing and sanction in the Balkans, the UN finally authorized military action against Slobovan Milosovich’s Serbian forces which resulted in the breakup of Yugoslavia into separate countries based largely upon ethnic lines.

    Would it not have been better simply to eliminate these dictators? Most observers agree that one of America’s primary objectives in instigating the present Iraq war was to destroy Saddam Hussein and replace him with a better alternative government. So far this war effort has cost the US at least $300 billion, some 2,500 dead and 16,000 wounded personnel. Probably the worst loss is that engendered the hatred of a large part of the world and the loss of respect from some our closest friends.

    Would it not have been far simpler to just kill Saddam? Granted, all dictators go to enormous lengths to avoid just that. Saddam eliminated all but his most trusted advisors from his inner circle and moved frequently from palace to palace.  However, with modern technology such as the “smart bombs” used to eliminate Al Zarkawi, this is not a “Mission Impossible” task requiring the services of Tom Cruise. The systematic destruction of his palaces would certainly have had some effect and disrupted his life. Although the air strike on Qadafi’s home in Tripoli after the Pan Am attack missed its target, it had a profound effect on the subsequent behavior of his regime. This being said, Osama Bin Laden has managed to elude this fate since the attacks of 9/11, however, he probably is in hiding in the caves of Pakistan, guarded by his followers.

    Is this assassination? Perhaps, but is there a great moral difference between declaring an individual an international criminal, and then in effect, putting out a contract on him, or alternatively, declaring war against his country with the great loss of innocent life and property? I think not.

     


    VII.                              GLOBAL ORGANIZATIONS

    Internationalism vs. Unilateralism

    Broadly speaking, internationalism is the process of seeking the advice and consent of a group of other nations before taking a specific action, such as an act of war. Unilateralism is taking an action without seeking such advice and consent, or in the worst case, proceeding to taking such actions in spite of the opposition to such plans after seeking their advice and consent.

    The present US administration is widely perceived to be run by unilateralists, who are disposed to take any action they believe furthers the US interests despite the strong opposition of countries regarded as our allies.

    In fact, the differentiation is seldom this clear cut. In the case of the first Gulf War, over a period of some six months following the invasion of Kuwait George H.W. Bush and James Baker, II were able to build a broad consensus of support, including United Nations endorsements, to start the war to evict Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. In the case of the present conflict in Iraq, President George W. Bush and Colin Powell made strenuous efforts to gain UN approval for the project, and only proceeded with a smaller “Coalition of the Willing” consisting of the UK, our closest friend, and a small group of countries in our sphere of influence.

    In reviewing the “Lessons” cited above, it seems apparent that it is almost always advantageous for the US to act in concert with other nations with similar interests to attempt to resolve the problems discussed above. The advantages it brings are:

    a.         Adds more economic and military power to the problems;

                            b.         Deflects criticism aimed solely at the US;

                            c.         Spreads the costs.

    However, the attempt to organize a “Coalition of the willing” to confront or attack a Rogue State is a time consuming process and often impossible given the conflicting interests of the various nations.

    Simple Solution:

     

    Create a world organization of countries which share similar values, excluding all others. This organization is described in the following section


     The United Nations

    The concept of creating a world organization dedicated to peace is certainly not new.  It was tried unsuccessfully by Woodrow Wilson in the League of Nations, which foundered on the American isolationist sentiment resulting from the carnage in WWI.  However, the utopian ideal did not die, and the United Nations was launched with great hopes and fanfare at San Francisco, CA on October 24, 1945.

    Today, the UN is a badly broken organization. It is a bloated bureaucracy composed of a few qualified leaders and staffed by the relatives and friends of the member governments. Perhaps its most successful function is as a training school for young diplomats. During their tours at the UN headquarters these acolytes from rich families learn such useful diplomatic skills as evading parking tickets and finding the newest and best restaurants in New York City. The cost of basing the UN in one of the most expensive cities in the world is largely subsidized by US taxpayers.

     

    The principal problem of the UN is its structure and composition. Each of its 191 members has a vote in the General Assembly. Some of these countries, like San Marino, which has a total population of 29,000, are smaller than Edina, Minnesota. The majority are Muslim nations, which accounts for the continual resolutions condemning Israel, and by association, the United States, its principal benefactor.

    Membership in the Security Council was allocated to the victors in WWII, namely the US, Russia, Great Britain, China, and France. Today, the primary power of the Security Council is to block resolutions which are against the perceived self-interest of any of the individual members. Almost every issue that comes before the Security Council, such as the current Iranian nuclear confrontation, will be counter to the self-interest of one of the Security Council permanent members. Since each permanent member has a veto, few meaningful resolutions are ever passed.

    Further, neither Japan nor Germany, which have the second and third largest economies in the world, is members of the Security Council. They have been excluded for six decades because of their role in WWII. Isn’t this a bit absurd? India, a nuclear power and the largest democracy in the world, does not have a voice in the Security Council except as a rotating, non-veto member.

    Article 51 of the UN Charter pertains to sovereignty of each member country, stating that

    “Nothing… shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the UN”. This Article is commonly used by the worst dictators to prevent the international community from intervening while they are committing heinous crimes (e.g. genocide, rape and torture) against their own citizens.

    Because the UN has no permanent military force to call upon for its peace keeping missions, it must rely on a consensus of members, which is difficult and time consuming to develop. Thus, in egregious cases of genocide such as the Balkans and Darfur, by the time a peace-keeping effort is eventually launched, many thousands have already died. It is obvious, that to be effective, the world organization should have a military/peace keeping capability in place that can be ordered into action immediately upon approval of a specific project. In Lebanon and elsewhere where UN peacekeeping forces have been deployed, their rules of engagement are so restrictive that they become essentially easy targets for the opposing forces they are supposed to control. Small wonder France wanted to clarify these rules before committing troops to police the Lebanese border.

    The United Nations does fulfill many worthwhile functions, including the International Atomic Energy Commission, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and UNICEF.  It also does some things appallingly badly, such as the Food for Peace Program, which funded Saddam Hussein’s palaces instead of feeding poor Iraqi citizens, while lining the pockets of UN program administrators.

    A major flaw in the United Nations is that “The Organization is based upon the principal of the sovereign equality of all its Members” (Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the UN charter). Further, Paragraph 4 states “All Members shall refrain... from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state”. These provisions are widely ignored. Of the 191 nations in the UN, a large majority are totalitarian states, run by dictators whose primary objective is to stay in power. How they ever qualified as “peace loving” in the first place is a real stretch. The second objective is to extract the maximum amount of money from their subjects and the developed world to line their own pockets. Far too little of these funds from international agencies reach their intended objectives, to the delight of the Swiss bankers.

    Simple Solutions:


    1. Don’t destroy the UN, simply by-pass it. Use it for humanitarian purposes, not international security.

     

    2. Move the headquarters from Manhattan to a place closer to its primary      constituencies, such as Lagos, Nigeria or Kampala, Uganda.

    Other International Organizations

    There is a plethora of other international organizations, such as the European Union (EU, formerly the European Common Market); the G-8, OAS Organization of American States (OAS); Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) defensive groups (NATO); financial institutions, (World Bank and the International Monetary Fund); trading blocks (NAFTA, SEATAC); cartels (OPEC) and the World Trade Organization.

    Each of these organizations was formed to accomplish specific objectives. What they have in common is that they all provide a venue and mechanisms for the participating countries to get together to address common problems. Obviously, some work better than others. European countries such as Turkey are eagerly waiting in line to join the EU, and have taken major internal steps to qualify for admission. Similarly, China sought the world recognition and trade benefits afforded by membership in the WTO and opened up many domestic institutions in its attempt to qualify for membership.

    Some Lessons:

     

    a. An international organization can provide real benefits to its members and even rogue nations will take actions to modify their internal policies to qualify for membership.

     

    b. It is imperative to have a standing military force ready to deploy as soon as authorization is granted by a majority of the organization.

     


    VI.                 ORGANIZATION OF FREE COUNTRIES

    The Need

    With the plethora of existing international organizations, is there a need for another? The answer is that none of these established organizations have the structure, capabilities or resolve to address the global issues that present the greatest dangers to the civilized world.

    Background

    Each of the global organizations has shortcomings which limit their effectiveness in confronting the major dangers which the civilized world faces today: Items:

    1. The UN

    • The Security Council is limited by the veto power of the five founding nations from taking meaningful actions. (Iran today).
    • It excludes from this council the two countries with the second and third largest economies in the world, Germany and Japan.
    • It is essentially a debating society which seeks to settle all conflicts through diplomacy, and has a forty year history of ineffective sanctions.
    • It has no permanent military force to enforce its decisions.

    2. NATO

    • NATO was formed in December 1949 primarily as a response to the perceived threat from the Soviet Union. It has a direct relationship with the United Nations, and all members must reaffirm their commitment to the principals set forth in the UN Charter.
    • All members are required to contribute certain military assets, on call when authorized to meet a specific conflict). NATO. Russia is not a member but has a working relationship with the organization.
    • NATO generally restricts its activities its area of interest, namely Europe and North America. It has an excellent forty year record of protecting its 26 member nations, and has now expended to encompass all of the countries in continental Europe (except Switzerland and Liechtenstein) and Turkey and is considering applications from several other regional states. However, in 2005 NATO authorized sending a military force to Afghanistan to take over peacekeeping activities.

    3. ASEAN

    • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was organized in 1967, not as an alliance to meet a potential military threat, but as a more benign forum for solving regional problems. Its members “adhere to the Principals of the United Nations Charter”, but are in no way bound by strict commitments. Perhaps the major difference with NATO is that most of the nations in ASEAN are economically underdeveloped countries and have not the means to contribute much towards collective security.

    The Solution

    The optimum solution would be to create a new exclusive, not all inclusive, world organization. The group should be composed of countries that share our common values, namely freedom of speech, religion, press, and a freely elected government that can be periodically replaced, peacefully, by the consent and will of the people. Of course, not all countries have the same political systems, and vary by degree of freedom in civil rights and economic policies. But of the 191 countries that are now members of the UN, 35 appear to meet the standards for charter membership in the Organization of Free Countries (OFC), as shown in Table A below. The organization will invite other countries to join as they meet the criteria established by its charter members.

    However, once established, the effect of the new organization would not be to replace the UN, but to essentially assume the functions of the Security Council. At that point, there would be no reason for the US, or other members, to participate in the Security Council. There are many agencies of the UN that do perform very worthwhile services (e.g. UNICEF, etc.) and these should continue to be funded based upon their objectives and performance.

     

    OFC Membership Criteria

    The definition of a “Free Country” is a relative, not an absolute term. Our basic criteria for a free country is one that can and does change its government leadership periodically peacefully, generally through free elections. We envision the following nations are considered the “Core Group” as Founding Members of OFC:

    Table A

    OFC Founding Members

    (Alphabetical)

    Australia

    Austria

    Belgium

    Brazil

    Canada

    Chile

    Czech Republic

    Denmark

    Finland

    France

    Germany

    Greece

    Hungary

    Iceland

    India

    Ireland

    Israel

    Italy

    Japan

    South Korea

    Mexico

    Netherlands

    New Zealand

    Norway

    Philippines

    Portugal

    Russian Federation

    Spain

    South Korea

    Sweden

    Switzerland

    Taiwan

    Turkey

    Ukraine

    United Kingdom

    United States

    There are also several countries (e.g. Bahamas) which meet the OFC criteria, but they are too small to have international impact. Perhaps they can be granted an Associate status.

    Notably missing from this list is China (including Hong Kong) which is a major world power but with an authoritarian government not likely to change any time soon. However, a number of countries with authoritarian governments do share many Western values, and are likely allied with the cause of international peace for their own self protection. Singapore is a classic example. Also, Thailand and Vietnam have free market economies, and have developed strong commercial ties with the West.

    Monarchies

    A number of the countries on the list are “constitutional monarchies”, namely United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Also, most of the of the Arab countries are monarchies, notably Saudi Arabia and the seven Emirates in the UAE (particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Morocco. Several of these nations are making small steps toward democratization, but all of these governments are firmly linked to the West economically.

    Perhaps one day the royal family of Saudi Arabia may discern significant merit (e.g., a pending French-type revolution) and set up Mecca and Medina as “Vatican Cities” under the Islamic clergy. Following the English example, the “Royals” could establish a parliamentary government to run the country, and retire to the good life in their palaces and yachts in Marbella.

    The Charter

    The specific Articles will be worked out between a core group of the founding members, as was done by the EU, hopefully with less contention. Presumably funding will be based upon the relative sizes of the economies of the members. With the U.S. having the largest share, it will have significant influence on the charter of the OFC. The cost of the entire OFC organization could probably be paid for by diverting some funds from their present UN contributions.

    Site Selection

    For similar reasons, it appears that a new location in a country other than the U.S would be advantageous for the new world headquarters of OFC.

    The site selection again will be the decision of a majority of the charter members, but some of the reasons for an non-U.S. site are (a) to create a image that it is not a U.S. operation; (b) to be closer to the scene of the problems (e.g. the Middle East) and the other member countries; and (c) much less expensive for all of the members than the capital cities of the developed world (e.g. New York and Brussels).

    As a possible location, it appears that the area around Shannon, Ireland would meet these criteria. There is a large and underutilized airport, within easy range of all European cities and the United States. It is in a non-urban area, with ample room in adjacent areas to develop an entirely new headquarters complex for OFC

    The development should be welcomed by the Irish people and government. As a final incentive, they make some great beer and some very good whiskeys. The Irish people are usually very friendly, and although they speak a weird dialect of the English language, it is slightly easier to understand and learn than Chinese.

    The Mercenary Military

    Perhaps most important, the ideal new organization would have its own permanent military forces in place to enforce the actions authorized by the majority of the members. To be effective, the CFC must have the means to legally enforce its decisions. The forces would be ready to deploy on short notice to answer any crisis as soon as such action is authorized.

    The primary mission of the OFC military is to defend the member countries from all forms of aggression, including terrorist attacks.

    In the 21st century, these attacks are more likely to be launched by groups directed by religious fanatics, as exemplified by Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. This is truly an irregular form of war, and calls for revised tactics.

    It may well be that the last engagement between two large armies in the field was the First Gulf War. The total destruction of the Iraqi forces by the American-led coalition was not lost on our enemies, who have revised their tactics accordingly. As vividly shown in Viet Nam and again in our present involvement in Iraq, a long drawn out guerilla war is the most effective way to defeat an occupying army. Suicide bombers are the weapon of choice of the Islamist leadership, and are chillingly effective against civilian targets.

    The best defense against terrorist attacks is to destroy their leadership before it attacks. This is not an easy task, but with modern weaponry and the requisite commitment, it can indeed be done, as shown in the case of Al-Zarkawi.  

    Thus, the proposed OFC military is not a large ground force, but a group of specialized combatants to gather intelligence, pinpoint leaders, and call in missile and air strikes until they run out of places to hide. In the process, they will likely loose a number of their closest colleagues, as well as camp followers and, unfortunately, a number of innocent civilians as well. This is called collateral damage, which is an integral part of all warfare.

    The creation of the CFC military force is not intended to replace the military forces of member countries; however, it should serve to augment and/or replace the forces of any single nation (e.g. the US) and thereby serve to disperse the antagonism of the world towards a perceived act of aggression by one country. It would dispel some of the criticism of the US as “Policeman of the World”.

    The OFC military will be an entirely voluntary force, recruited from (or seconded to) the OFC from the services of member countries. A high, uniform pay structure with the best modern equipment should attract the most qualified personnel from all countries. It will be a war fighting, not peace-keeping unit. Member countries will be required to contribute to the permanent force, either in manpower or by proportional payments which will be used to hire mercenaries. For example, although the Japanese constitution prohibits government participation in military affairs, there are no doubt a number of their citizens who would join as individuals.

    With good pay, excellent equipment and training, and the chance for advancement, the OFC military could develop into a world-class fighting force. The cost of creating, training and supporting a mercenary military, both in peace time and during combat deployments, if spread between the coalition of OFC members, would certainly be much less than the costs incurred by the U.S. when engaged in these activities alone (e.g. Iraq).

    Part of the larger items of military equipment (e.g. aircraft & ships) could be obtained on a lend-lease basis, the creative financing technique developed by President Roosevelt in World War II. The balance of the equipment required would ether be purchased directly or provided with the personnel assigned to OFC.

    Writing in the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings in November 2005, Admiral Mike Mullen described the process of “Building a Global Maritime Network” and creating a 1,000 ship Navy. This idea involved the integration of the maritime forces of all of our allies in joint operations, thereby greatly expanding the capabilities and coverage of the U.S. Navy. The concept was met with significant enthusiasm, and is, in fact, being continually implemented through joint operational maneuvers. This coordination is an excellent example of how the forces under command of OFC could operate.

    Just the presence of these forces – land, sea and air - should give potential opponents pause before incurring actions that would trigger their involvement. Such a committed deterrent would have been very useful in preventing many historic conflicts.

    Implementation

    Because the formation of OFC will require the consent of each of the participating governments, and each of the founding nations are democracies, the creation of the OFC will require the approval of each administration and a majority of the elected officials, presumably who reflect the will of their constituents. Accordingly, to create the organization will require both an education program to gain general approval of these citizenries, and a massive lobbying effort to gain the support of their elected representatives. This is indeed a formidable task.

    The usual way to proceed in such endeavors is to gain the support for the idea from a selected group of prominent individuals who have immediate name recognition, relevant credentials and optimally are held in high esteem. This initial group of supporters of the OFC concept will seek the financing required to implement the project. One objective of this paper is to ascertain the level of support from potential financial and political backers of the concept of the Organization of Free Countries.


    VII.                                            CONCLUSION

    In looking at the world situation today, it is obvious that globalization is here to stay, and the “Flattening” process described by Tom Friedman is accelerating. The great leaps in communication technology and the Internet make world events immediately known to a large percentage of the world. Growth in international trade increases annually, and isolation is impossible.

    Yet most of the world’s population remains desperately poor and illiterate. These people are easy prey for the ruthless dictators who exploit the situation for their own aggrandizement and wealth, too often with the assistance of cynical governments and merchants from the developed world.

    This paper acknowledges and welcomes the globalization and flattening process. Its principal recommendation is to create a new world organization composed entirely of countries that share the central ideals of Western societies, namely placing great value of the lives of all individuals, and their inalienable right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. These ideals have been embraced by the UK and most countries of the old British Empire, the European Union, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States, and in the Orient by Japan and Taiwan. These countries constitute the core of what is proposed as a new organization to promote world peace. This is called the “Organization of Free Countries”.

    Regarding the proposed solutions, while the process of stating them is simple, obviously

    accomplishing them is not. The implementation is extremely difficult. The UN and NATO are very well established, large bureaucracies, with powerful supporters, albeit with many detractors. The addition of an independent military which has the assets to perform all of the missions of NATO would be a multi-billion undertaking.

    Thus, the problems involved in implementing OFC with these objectives, would be, in the short term, very expensive and highly unlikely. However, assuming more limited objectives, the anticipated difficulties do not appear insurmountable. The proposed implementation plan is set forth in a separate document.

    In the end, I remain very confident that the Western civilization will eventually prevail over the restrictive Islamic theocratic governments. As a Burmese once told a visiting friend, “America must really be a great country”.  When asked to elaborate he replied, “I have never heard of anyone trying to escape from there!”

    For although we all have many criticisms of our country, for anyone who has traveled, there is no doubt, with all its flaws, the United States is the greatest country in the world, a beacon for all who wish a better life. The challenge is to keep it that way.

     

    Byron K. Varme

    October 26, 2006

    Appendix A

    Organization of Free Countries

    Proposed Charter Members

    And other

    World Organizations


    United Nations:

    BKV

     

    General

    Security

    WTO

    OPEC

    Nuclear

    Visited

    Country *

    NATO

    OFC

    Assembly

    Council

    Members

    Members

    Weapons

    G-8

     

    Afghanistan

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Albania

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Algeria

     

     

    x

     

     

    x

     

     

     

    Andorra

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Angola

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

    x

    Antiqua and Barbuda

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Argentina

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Armenia

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

    x

    Australia

     

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

     

    x

    Austria

     

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

     

     

    Azerbaijan

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

    x

    Bahamas

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

    x

    Bahrain

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Bangladesh

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Barbados

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

    x

    Belgium

    x

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

     

     

    Belize

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Benin

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Bhutan

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bolivia

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Botswana

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Brazil

     

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

     

     

    Belarus

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Brunei Darussalam

     

     

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Bulgaria

    x

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Burkina Faso

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Burundi

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Cameroon

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Cambodia

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

    x

    Canada

    x

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

    x

     

    Cape Verde

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Central African Republic

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Chad

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Chile

     

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

     

     

    China

     

     

    x

    x

    x

     

    x

     

     

    Columbia

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Comoros

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Congo

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Costa Rica

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Cote d'Ivoire

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Croatia

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Cuba

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Cyprus

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

    x

    Czech Republic

    x

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

     

     

    Democratic Rep. Of Congo

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

    x

    Denmark

    x

    X

    X

     

    X

     

     

     

     

    Djibouti

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Dominica

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

     

    Dominican Republic

     

     

    x

     

     

     

     

     

    x

    Ecuador

     

     

    x

     

    x

     

     

     

    x

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