Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Military

Territorial Disputes and the Future of Asia

It has been in and out of the corner of the western press’s eye the last few years. China has been flexing its muscle in Asia, attempting to press claims to territory, both land and sea, on its various borders. This has not gone unnoticed by China’s neighbours,  who are quite furious with China over some of its more belligerent acts. The matter has been simmering, off and on, for some time. What I find most interesting about it, however, is how this dispute has set the nations of Asia against each other, dividing it between two sides, one pro-China, the other against.

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Gilad Sharon, Fascist

Recently, Gilad Sharon, son to the former prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, published an op-ed in the Jersualem PostIn this op-ed, he makes a fascist argument. I mean this completely without hyperbole. I want it understood that I am, quite literally, under no uncertain terms, accusing Gilad Sharon of being a fascist, and equating him with the right wing nationalist movements of Hitler, Mussolini, and Milosevic. A bold claim deserves a bold argument, and that is what follows.

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How to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

As Israel proves that twitter can be a tool of the state just as easily as it can be a tool of rebels and revolutionaries, the question once again rises as to how on earth a permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might come about. The attitudes to this conflict are too partisan and too subjectively involved. What is required is emotional detachment and rational analysis, and I propose to use both of these tools to devise the optimum solution to the conflict, which I submit to you, the reader, for judgement.

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The Foreign Policy Borg

One of the most common criticisms of Obama from the left is that his foreign policy is not discernibly all that different from that of late period George W. Bush–Guantanamo was never  closed, Obama employed a surge strategy in Afghanistan, drone attacks were used, troop numbers continued to decline in Iraq, it all felt, and perhaps it all feels, as though nothing has changed. At the same time, many on the left like to argue that, were Kerry or Gore elected, things would have been quite different, that Bush was discernibly distinct from Clinton. The historical record shows this to be false–Bush’s foreign policy amounted to a mere evolution of Clinton’s military interventionism and embrace of the democratic peace theory, the notion that democracies promote peace and prosperity and that, consequently, democracy should be spread to foreign lands. It’s not as if the interventions in Somalia and Yugoslavia during the nineties were motived in any way significantly differently from the reasoning eventually supplied for the occupation of Iraq–spreading freedom, ending tyranny, and so on down the line. Of course, when these people were running for office, they talked a different game. They tried to draw distinction from their predecessors and purported to offer a serious foreign policy alternative–Mitt Romney as we recall attempted this very line of argument. So why is it that our presidents get assimilated into the foreign policy borg and adopt policies that are, for the most part, quite similar to those adopted by their predecessors? That’s today’s topic of investigation.

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The War on PBS

During the recent presidential debate, Mitt Romney said the following:

I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I love Big Bird — I actually like you too — but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.

Since the debate, the left has made Romney out to be someone who hates Sesame Street and PBS, and the right has made Romney out to be someone who takes spending cuts seriously. Both completely miss the point. This statement from Romney actually tells you quite a lot about the candidate. This is a statement with far-ranging implications that matter a great deal more than even PBS’ defenders realise.

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