Sunday, March 17, 2013

Iran disobeying sanctions

This post is in response to the article U.S. accuses Greek shipping magnate of helping Iran to avoid sanctions, sell oil in the March 15th, 2013 edition of The Washington Post. The article reports on a Greek shipping magnate who is helping Iran to sell oil despite U.N. sanctions.

     It may be news to some people that Iran, under sanctions by the United Nations, is not allowed to sell oil. This is because of their adamant refusal to cancel their nuclear program. Despite having publicly called for the destruction of Israel, they continue to insist that their nuclear program is perfectly peaceful, and they do not want to use it in warfare, but rather to power their country. Fortunately, most of the countries of the United Nations are not so naive as to believe them. So the United Nations imposed sanctions in order to pressure Iran to halt their nuclear program. Consequently, Iran is no longer allowed to sell oil, restricting a large amount of income from one of their major exports.
      It would seem that the Iranians have figured out a way to sell oil anyway. A Greek shipping company has apparently been shipping Iranian oil to the rest of the world, not telling them of the oil's origin. The plot worked quite nicely, until the operation was recently discovered. The head of the company, Dimitris Cambis, continues to deny that he had been helping the Iranians, and that these accusations were merely "very bad rumors created by our competitors because we are trying to take market share."
     The United States is deeply concerned that if Iran is able circumvent the sanctions and sell it's oil covertly, it will have little incentive to put an end to its nuclear program, thus increasing the likelihood of a military conflict. President Obama has repeatedly stated that "all options are on the table" when it comes to stopping Iran's nuclear program. This is interpreted to mean that should the United Nations fail to halt Iran's nuclear program, then it may be necessary to to put a halt to it militarily. The undermining of the sanctions, as suspected of this Greek company, will only increase the likelihood that America will have to take military actions to stop Iran's nuclear program and put lives at risk, because the sanctions are proving ineffective.
     I believe that America is completely correct on this one. They are completely right to impose the restrictions on Iran, and to engage in military action against it should Iran not stop it's nuclear program, though that is besides the point. Iran has shown a great deal of defiance towards these sanctions, as might be expected, and has preformed a variety of operations such as this. These defiant activities must be stopped, because if Iran is allowed to break the sanctions, then there would be nothing to stop it from completing its nuclear program, and having nuclear weapons with which could be use against any country which it wants to destroy.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Syrian Rebels Get U.S. Aid


   This article is in response to the article Syria rebels may get direct U.S. aid in the February 27th, 2013 edition of The Washington Post. The article reports on the U.S. plan to potentially give the Syrian Rebels direct aid in their civil war.

     I'm sure most of us have heard about the Syrian civil war, but here is a short run-down just in case: the Syrian government is a dictatorship which has been oppressing the majority of its citizens, but the citizens have grown tired of the oppression and, two years ago, decided to rebel. The dictatorial government wants to remain in power, so they are bombing their own country and killing their own civilians. Countries around the world have been reluctant to help the Syrian rebels because they aren't sure who these rebels actually are, and suspect that they may be radicals that could become a threat to surrounding countries.
     This Washington Post article describes America's new plan to give the Syrian rebels aid without giving them weapons. According to the article, the U.S. plans to give the rebels articles such as armor, armored vehicles, and possibly military training. The policy has not yet been finalized, say officials close to the subject, but it is being discussed by the U.S. Secretary of State, John F. Kerry, in various meetings with allies in Europe and the Middle East. It would seem that we all have a common goal when it comes to Syria; to, "end the bloody stalemate, which has claimed about 70,000 lives."
Damaged buildings in Homs, Syria.
- http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/scores-killed-in-syrian-offensive/2011/07/31/glQAaGuhll_gallery.html#photo=23
     This aid effort, along with the possible support from other countries, could help the Syrian rebels to win the war and put an end to the immediate misery. This could mean a number of things for the future of Syria, and possibly the entire Middle East. First of all, the Syrians could form a much more modernized society, one which respects it's citizens, and, potentially, the citizens of neighboring countries. This would prove to be a great change for the Middle East, and allow for the United States to have a more valued ally.
     The other possible scenario is that the Syrian rebels will decide to form a new dictatorship, in which case everything would become exactly how it was before, with a horrible oppressive government and citizens who blindly follow it, until another rebellion takes place. Both of these possible outcomes have actually occurred before in history, the negative one in countries such as Russia, in which the Soviet Union was formed, and the positive one in countries such as Poland, who rose up against the Soviets and formed a successful democracy in the late 1980’s.
     In my personal opinion, the US is very right to be helping the rebels to defeat the Syrian government. If the rebels are given assistance, they will be able to put up a fight, and possibly win. This would result in the possibility of a new and better government forming from the ashes of the old one. If the rebels are not given assistance, thousands more innocent people will continue to die, and the Syrian government would surely win and continue to oppress their citizens again, which wouldn't help anyone, neither Syrians nor the rest of the world.
     And let's not forget about how this war affects other countries; frequently missiles and other stray means of warfare spill into Syria's neighbors such as Israel, Turkey, and Lebanon. If the war is finally won (by the rebels) other countries could be free of the dangers of the conflict pouring over into their borders.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Keystone Pipeline

This article is in response to an online Washington Post article, "Activists arrested at White House protesting Keystone Pipeline," published on February 13 2013. This article describes activists who caused a civil disturbance in front of the White House, protesting the Keystone XL pipeline.

     The Keystone XL pipeline is the project by the US and Canadian governments to expand an oil pipe that runs straight from Canada to Texas. On one side of the argument, the building of the pipeline would create a number of American jobs, which is an evident necessity in today's economy. It would also allow for the prices of gasoline to reduce substantially, something that many lower-income Americans would appreciate; on the other side of the argument lie the environmentalists who argue that this project could inflict serious damage on the environment by increasing the use of fossil fuels. They also worry about potential leakage which could seep into underground water reservoirs. This demonstration by some environmentalists is a result of this ongoing debate.
     Failing to build the keystone pipeline would disappoint Canada, and cause it to export it's oil to China instead of the United States. China has a strongly growing economy and greatly seeks energy resources which it lacks. The Chinese government would be very happy if America did not make this deal with Canada, for they would get all of the oil. This would force Canada to build a pipeline to its west coast, rather than south to Texas, which would also have some potential environmental impacts, not to mention the possible outcome of an oil rig spilling in the north pacific on its way from Canada to China.
Here is the proposed Keystone Pipeline Map
     The environmentalists have a point; something could go wrong. But in actuality, something could always go wrong. There is always the possibility of an oil spill or leakage, and we do have to take precautions against it, but getting rid of projects like this is not the way to go. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States are suffering the dilemmas of unemployment and extremely high gasoline prices. The keystone pipeline has the potential to alleviate those problems for very many American citizens. I'm not saying that the environment should be completely overlooked; that is never the case, but if we go around cancelling all of our projects and neglect attempts to become self-sustaining, we might just run out of affordable energy before too long. On the other hand, if we harvest fossil fuels in excess, we may horribly ruin our environment.  As with everything else, a balance has to be achieved.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Drug War


This post is in response to the article Drug War in the February 2nd, 2013 edition of the Washington Post. The article reports on, among other things, the recent activities of the Mexican Drug War.

          The Drug cartels have decided to make their "activities" less obvious to the general public. They have begun to stop fighting each other in large and very noticeable battles; they have recently opted to kill in more subtle fashions. To most of the population of Mexico, the war seems to have died down and public security has seemingly increased, but this is almost an illusion; a statistic presented in the article states, basically, that the "drug-related-death" numbers have maintained their levels, that is, the drug cartels are still as active as ever, but simply not as noticed as before.
          This could present a problem to both the Mexican and the United States government. The new subtlety of the drug cartels could very well cause them to practically vanish from the sight of the authorities. They are already able to get past the US and Mexican border patrol, but if the patrols were unsure of where the next shipment of drugs might come from, could they stop these drugs from entering the United States at all? The article also mentions that the violence, and therefore the activities of the cartels, has moved from areas once deemed "red-zones," to other areas in central-northern Mexico, several hundred miles south of the border; these have apparently become crucial for control over "lucrative smuggling routes."
          The entire war between the drug cartels is utterly insane and ludicrous. I certainly hope that these drug dealers will be brought to justice before too much of their "product" is brought into the United States. This could possibly become an even bigger problem now that the drug cartels have become more sophisticated as their more blatant activities have gone underground, and moved farther away from the border. These drug cartels need to be brought to justice, before they become so hidden so that they are virtually undetectable by either government.
"Masked and armed men
sit in the back of a pickup
truck at the entrance to
Ayutla de los Libres"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/mexicos-drug-war-deepens-trust-deficit/2012/05/17/gJQAqBjJWU_gallery.html#photo=3

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hello world! This is my new blog, in which I plan to write multiple posts about world events and how they relate to the United States. I plan to also comment on these specific events; my own personal opinion, as well as, possibly, some relation to me as one of the 300,000,000 average citizens of the United States. The first world event post should be up by February 10, 2013 or earlier.