13 July 2007
How to Piss Everyone Off
To stabilize the Israeli-Palestinian contested land and governance, use the example of how the United States and the UN created a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. I would run the zone completely around the 1966 borders of Israel and it would include the entire city of Jerusalem as a UN-protectorate. Military forces from UN members would include Israeli and Arab League member states, the United States and Turkey. The Palestinian national government would have authority over the entire area, including all Israeli-created settlements. Israeli citizens desiring to remain in the West Bank would have to obtain a residency visa from the Palestinian government. Likewise, non-citizen Palestinians wanting to live in Israel would require work/residency permits from the Israeli government. Unlike Korean, personal and commercial transit points along the Demilitarized Zone would formalize such travel. The goal of having a DMZ between Israel and Palestine is to allow the Palestinian people to build their nation's institutions and political process in a stable territory without having to focus on external threats and intramural violence. The US should provide equal support to Palestine and Israel.
To deal with Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, concentrate all US military and non-military resources in the region toward an independent, self-governing Afghanistan. Tasks would be: first, to enable the central government to create a border police with physical markings along their now porous Southern border with Pakistan. Then the US and the UN would establish a Marshall-Plan level effort to build an energy and transportation infrastructure within Afghanistan to enable local commerce and regional governance within a federal nation-state. To accomplish this, the model would be a canton, regional government using the Canadian model for provincial self-governance within a sovereign nation.
A key element of the restoration of Afghanistan has to emphasize that Afghans are not Arabs culturally, racially or ethnically. Also, the historic enmity between Pakistan and Afghanistan over territorial claims should be held in limbo or in stasis until formal negotiations resolve ancient claims.
By deploying US and UN military forces to support the Afghan central government, neighboring countries would be aware of a long-term US presence that would obviate a strike force deployment in the Balkans, thus defusing Russian fears of a resumption of the Cold War.
12 July 2007
Do We Really Want This To Continue?
Checks and balances would prevent the takeover of republican democracy in the United States. 1. A caring President could veto malicious legislation from Congress, exercise the appointment power for a responsible Cabinet to implement due process through rules and regulations, federal Judiciary appointments some of which require the concurrence of the Senate (worded as Advise and Consent), conduct the nation's foreign policy through diplomacy and military force; however, the President cannot declare war or appropriate funds unapproved by the Congress.
2. A bicameral legislature, the House of Representatives and the Senate, called the Congress enacts the legislation by which the Executive establishes federal rules and regulations for running the country. The House controls the purse strings, ultimately, obtaining concurrence from the Senate. "The purse" goes to the President for acceptance or rejection. To change the budget's appropriation of funds, the President can allocate at will within the budget approved by Congress, but any additional appropriation requires supplemental requests to the House of Representatives. If the Judiciary decides that legislation in place or situations exist that only the Constitution states the norm, Congress can pass and the President enact legislation to enforce or obviate Judicial decisions.
3. The federal Judiciary decides what litigation complies with, against or is outside the boundaries of The Constitution's authority. The highest judicial institution is the Supreme Court of a chief justice and eight associate justices. All members are nominated by the President to be confirmed upon approval by the Senate.
That's the scheme created in 1787 to join 13 states into a single nation-state, the United States of America. The Constitution of 1787 replaced the Articles of Confederation of 1783, because individual states had too much authority to prevent the Confederated States from acting with unified authority. The solution to resolve the chaos of equal claims by each state to govern the other states or to ignore laws with which that state disagreed was agreed to in 1787-- 13 states ratified The Constitution of the United States. For 220 years, this document and governmental design continues to define the paradigm of a republican process democracy. Examples of pure democracy in governance include: town meetings in Vermont, homeowners associations, faculty meetings, all our favorite venues.
BUT, BEYOND BELIEF, IT FEELS LIKE WE ARE RELIVING THE LAST YEARS OF GERMANY'S WEIMAR REPUBLIC AND DER PRESIDENT VON HINDENBURG STILL LEADS THE COUNTRY
We are so, so close to witnessing that coup which began anew in 1984. By 2000, the NeoCons hijacked my country and its reputation in the world. More commonly today, violence pervades our games and sports, our perspective on our own ability to survive, and fear is the catalyst for enabling these changes to happen. I worry about how our culture and social institutions cope with fundamental values of justice, entitlements as a person, authority. Unspoken or unrecognized moral norms seem to create adherence or adoption via the dynamics of power--thus violence and winning are so pervasively woven into our public ethics.