In the United States, we often have a term for liberals – softies. While we cherish our liberal ideologies, since they are what shaped the Western world, there is this perception at least in our country that liberals just cannot get things done. Let us see if that’s really true, shall we!
The key thing about liberals is that they aim to be politically and culturally progressive. Now, that is definitely a broad stereotype, we are aware, but for the sake of argument let’s continue with it. When you aim to be like that, which is something all of us should aspire to, you need to be empathetic and understanding.
And why is that? It is because we live in a diverse and mixed world where we have people of different races, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities and preferences within close proximity. Each person has a different emotional threshold. Empathy becomes key under these circumstances.
When you are extremely understanding, there is a big flipside. When it comes to making crunch decisions in government that influences different people in different manners, you need to have the mental toughness to take those decisions. The general perception of liberals is that they consider the effects of any decision to such an extent that they don’t even make them.
Well, sorry to say that, but that isn’t true. If anything, one of the complaints against the ultra-liberal Obama administration was the questionable act of bombing people using drones. While that was intended as a counter-terrorism measure, there were significant casualties. That is not the act of an “indecisive person”.
France recently passed a counter-terrorism bill that converts a few exceptional emergency policing powers to permanent law. Such policing powers allow cops to conduct certain operations without having necessary permits. Raids, for example. However, there is a general suspicion that this can significantly affect the Muslim community, with Muslims being the key immigrant group in France. In fact, this is a prominent recent event concerning terrorism and its deterrence.
While these two are perhaps not the best examples considering that they put liberals on a questionable spotlight, it nevertheless serves to highlight that even ultra,left leaning liberals can be decisive when it comes to issues of public interest and security. Taking decisions is the function of any government, and normally one would consider it preposterous that an entire political party is shy of that.
The next generation of American voters are going to be the youth. Unfortunately, the nation’s youth have had limited interested in politics or voting so far. With Barack Obama, that began to change for the better due to his strong influence amongst the youth and his overall “coolness” factor.
The statistics during the 2016 general election didn’t really make for good reading, with almost half the eligible population not turning up to vote. It was abysmal. The key reason behind this was nonchalance, a lack of interest in fact. This can prove to be a concern.
We often say that the citizens of a country need to be aware of the political environment in a functioning democracy. This is because only when citizens are fully aware and knowledgeable can the government be truly held accountable. If not, the government can simply get away with things.
Furthermore, being aware of the political landscape quashes stereotypes. Such stereotypes, be they about a certain political faction or racial group, are irrelevant in today’s world. One such stereotype is a general lack of trust among the youth in Conservatives.
It is important to realize the conservatives as a whole cannot be stereotyped based on a few people who are currently in power. We understand the resentment and the lack of faith among progressive youth with some of the Trump government’s policies, however it is vital to understand that an entire political group cannot be defined by the actions of a few.
The whole ideology of conservatism is linked to fiscal policies. They are fiscal conservatives, meaning that they believe in the ideology of “minimum government”. They prefer that the government stays away from the normal functioning of an economy, and involves itself only in certain occasions. Hence they typically enforce minimum tax as well as minimum spending.
That ideology of conservatism makes sense and it very much in line with Keynes’ economics, where the free market determines who rises and who falls. Other ideologies of this political group include strong national security, strict intolerance to crimes and substances, and so on. All these, in themselves, are positive ideals.
What we see today is a section of conservatives who seem to deviate slightly from such principles, and thus create a false notion of the group in general to young voters who aren’t aware of the history of conservatism. It is vital that an entire political ideology doesn’t get blemished under such circumstances.
On a final note, we would like to mention that we are neither a proponent nor an opponent of conservatism. We simply want to set the facts straight.
Let us look at the recent activities of governments worldwide on combating issues that threaten national security. With general frustration levels rapidly rising globally, on all sides of the political spectrum, politicians and government employees have a hard time appeasing the people. They cannot afford to sit silent.
Any news piece involving Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is bound to gather the attention of all 6.7 billion people in the world, such are the state of affairs. However, for once, the two met on a more positive setting in Helsinki, Finland, on the 16th of July as part of a bilateral meeting between the two nations. They agreed to work together on mutually concerning issues such as Islamic terrorism, Syria and nuclear disarmament.
There has been a recent spike in the immigration wave from parts of Africa to Europe. With Italy causing recent furor by entirely closing its borders to immigrants fleeing civil wars and brutality, Spain has taken up the mantle in welcoming such immigrants. The recently docked Aquarius, a rescue ship that set sail from Libya, landed in Spain, with newly elected Socialist government under Pedro Sanchez, and Portugal agreeing to bring in the immigrants.
Nigeria has always had a problem with domestic terrorism. The Boko Haram has proved to be a formidable opponent in the nation. However the government has stepped up its fight against terrorism in recent years, and drew praise from the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) during its recent visit to Lagos. The government’s rescue and rehabilitation programs for women and children was also commended.
You may recall the chaotic circumstances facing Turkey, with the ultra-dictatorial Erdogan government not faring quite so well. The Lira has plummeted by about 40% since the beginning of the year, with Turkey potentially set to become the next Argentina in the financial landscape. Turkey doesn’t seem to be about to get any respite, with Trump exerting his populist ideology by planning to double the tariffs on key Turkish imports.
That’s it for today’s edition. This in itself is a lot to digest, with countries still learning on a daily basis to effectively combat the rise of such things as populism, terrorism and anti-immigration. Let’s hope they pick up the pace.
There has been so much controversy over the Iraq war. One can even say that even Presidents have been sacked over the inefficiency in dealing with the scenario. With a lot of false information spreading, we have decided to write an excerpt on this topic.
Let us set the context first. One can never say that it was 100% right or 100% wrong. There were some elements that were right and some that were wrong. To make a case in extremes is plain folly. I believe that the intention was more or less in the right place, both from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Saddam Hussein was one of the most brutal dictators the world had ever seen. His methods employed led to complete destruction of lives. There was also a threat of spillage, that the civil war within Iraq and radical elements would spill over to the West. Anti-war activists would say that beyond that, oil was a key motivator for the United States to enter the war.
While Saddam was eventually dethroned, it came at a huge cost, as all Americans know. The casualty of the Iraq War was hitherto unheard of, and led to anger and resentment among all Western nations. It also came up that Saddam was never really a threat to the national security of the United States, and that he resented Al Qaeda as much as we did.
Furthermore, the Republicans never seemed to have a clear strategy on how to handle the situation post the dethronement of Saddam. A clear exit strategy is crucial in war to ensure that there is no instability created. Not only was there no exit strategy, but one can almost argue that we left Iraq in a worse shape than before.
There have been, and still are, debates in the United Kingdom as well as to as the pretense of the nation in entering the war. Tony Blair’s political and ministerial demise can be attributed to this. Again, the information about Saddam’s threat to the west was misread.
Think of nations that recovered after major wars, Germany and Japan being prime examples. Unfortunately, Iraq didn’t have the skill or the resources to make such a turnaround. Some even attribute the rise of ISIS to the Iraq war, although such things can never be attributed to one single event.
Ultimately, I would say that only about 10-15% of the execution was handled correctly by George W Bush and the Republicans. They managed to get rid of Saddam, but ended up creating financial and political collateral damages for themselves.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. One of the greatest threats to world peace and order as it exists today. Not since the peak of Al-Qaeda and the 9/11 has there been such a damning threat to us. And if it seems like ISIS is following the same error-strewn path, you need to think twice.
There is a global alliance at war against ISIS. In fact, it is the only thing that unites each and every single nation in the face of the Earth. While significant traction has been made in this fight, the threat still looms. We haven’t managed to eradicate this disease entirely.
There is a reason behind that. ISIS, unlike its predecessors, operates in a much different manner that makes it hard to get rid of. Unlike previous terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban, ISIS operates more shrewdly, in the sense that they don’t directly involve themselves in all their crusades.
Perhaps the greatest achievement (an unfortunate word in this case, but nevertheless true) of the organization is how it has been able to spread its message, vile as it may be, convincingly to a global mass. Its followers have been radicalized to such extents even without ISIS directly involving themselves. Key to this is their effective use of social media.
Social media has taken over the world, that alone is hard to refute. ISIS has managed to weave its web of influence effectively through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, spreading their message to remote audiences worldwide. They aren’t as conventional and stuck-up as their predecessors, and focus on recruiting a global army.
Due to their operations online, it is hard to entirely pin them down. Freedom of speech and expression is highly valued in the West, and any accusations made can be countered. Nowadays, there is much more of a strict policing on social media, and any communications captured with suspected ISIS members can lead to prosecution.
The point of the article is to recognize the difference in strategies ISIS employs, and why it matters. Only when we truly understand their strengths and weaknesses can we deploy a counter-strategy. In this case, the social media usage implies that governments need to have enhanced security measures to track down suspicious profiles and communication channels.
Combating terrorism today requires a strategic shift in thinking. Conventional strategies will not work anymore. And ISIS knows that.
When did this sense of protectionism and nationalism claw back into our worlds? For the last two decades, we have enjoyed the outcome of globalization and seen diversity bloom in nations. Immigration has benefitted the global economy tremendously.
And yet, there is a wave of change happening for the negative. Promoters of globalization and diversity such as the United States, United Kingdom and Germany are witnessing nationalist and populist sentiments in large measures. There is a lot of negative public perception on immigrants.
Far-right parties such as Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany, Freedom party (PVV) in Holland and factions of our very own Conservative party here in the United States have seen a surge in popularity in recent years. They are openly anti-immigrant and Islamophobic. Even someone as powerful and popular as Angela Merkel has faced scrutiny and vilification from such strata of the society.
In times like these, the responsibility falls on media, be it online or offline, to ensure civility and decency. As an advocate of openness and freedom of speech, the media cannot simply ignore the far-right, but can play an active role in making people aware of reality. And the reality is that immigration is not the cause of national threats such as terrorism.
You may have seen a lot of these statistics that point out the likelihood by being killed by an immigrant when compared to many other causes, some of them even ridiculous. Immigrants are mostly peace-loving, hard-working people who have contributed significantly to our economy. Deep down inside, most of us know this to be true.
At Avot, we recognize the reality of it, that issues threatening national security and governance such as terrorism and climate change boil down to the irresponsible acts of a small section of the society. Unfortunately, this small section is able to cause large-scale destruction to the rest of us, thus giving rise to stereotypes. It is vital we grasp this fact.
Values and ethics are primary in any profession. There is obviously importance in skills, experience and grit, but today’s world demands leaders and employees who have exemplary moral standards. Capitalism has benefitted our economies tremendously, but it has come at a cost – a general degradation of values.
Think about it. The economy is stronger than it has ever been. Incomes are at their highest. All other aspects – technological advancements, productivity, unemployment – are better than ever. Truly, we have enjoyed the fruits of capitalism. It was supposed to be the answer to improve everyone’s lives, something we used to think could be achieved only through socialism.
And yet, we have had casualties. It seems like moral values have never been at their lowest. Recently, we have had the never-ending accusations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination against the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump himself. The Me too movement has received unparalleled support.
While there is no excuse for sexual discrimination, the general degradation or humaneness can be attributed to the purest form of capitalism, where market forces determine everything. The goal of each business or corporation is to stay alive, at whatever cost. Be alive, and appease your shareholders.
Nowhere is this really true more than journalism. Journalists are supposed to have a public duty to bring to people facts in an unbiased manner. They are meant to be politically independent. Can anyone of us really say that if we look at the major media outlets in the country, be it the infamously conservative Fox News, the wannabe-leftist CNN or anyone else?
That’s why at Avot, we pride ourselves at our honesty, integrity and transparency. We have zero politically affiliated contributions, and we don’t take donations from corporations as well. We aim to conduct our business in an ethical manner, getting rid of all temptations and outside influences.