Memorial Day is supposed to be a chance for the American People to honor those members of the armed forces who have died in combat. Although the day is intended to remind Americans that freedom was secured with the blood of others, it exists only to refresh our memory on an annual basis. The Free Peoples of the world need to contemplate and appreciate, on a daily basis, the reasons we enjoy so many freedoms. When considering all those men and women who survived war, yet put their lives on hold to fight on behalf of their countrymen, it is also necessary to reflect on the cost of their service.
The US military offers rewarding careers, including a comfortable salary and generous retirement packages, to many, but many more, whose service comes at the cost of missed opportunities, are not so well compensated. Others leave the military with physical and psychological scars that make it difficult for them to build, as well as sustain, quality lifestyles and healthy relationships. Even if they overcome these barriers, their experience from the service often does not help them in the civilian labor market. Just like older workers, college graduates lacking “relevant experience,” the long-term employed, and numerous other demographics, vets can easily be victims of a “disqualified” mentality.
The South Korean Navy fired five warning shots against North Korean fishing boats and military vessels after they trespassed into South Korea waters. The incident immediately raised concerns tensions could escalate to a nuclear exchange and world war. In Japan, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit the site of America’s nuclear attack on Hiroshima where he delivered a speech calling for a nuclear free world. Although the US President is the one person most capable of leading the International Community to a nuclear free world, he is powerless thanks to the realities of the nuclear battleground.
Reminiscent of his aspirational campaign rhetoric, Obama’s Hiroshima speech, along with his 2009 Noble Peace Prize acceptance speech in Prague, is a sad commentary on the limits of global leadership. Even if the US congress was willing to eliminate America’s nuclear arsenal, even if Russian President Vladimir Putin was willing to eliminate Russia’s nuclear arsenal, the nuclear deterrent legacy of the Cold War is little more than a curse sustained by fears of succumbing to a catastrophic power. It is, in fact, this very fear that has created today’s demand for a far more complex, far more entrenched multilateral nuclear deterrent.
Barack Obama’s trip to Asia offered the US President a chance to solidify and bolster bilateral relations with America’s Asian partners. In asserting US interests across Asia, the Obama Administration is competing against many Chinese interests, especially when it comes to selling arms to Vietnam and Japan. As many US and Asian interests align against China’s more aggressive pursuits of its interests, there is a necessary degree of conflict that is unavoidable. As long as both the US and China assert their conflicting interests within the region in a way that both sets of interests are addressed, however, a serious conflict can be avoided.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Looking at bilateral trade between the US and China, growing fears of a trade war suggest more serious conflicts are yet to come. A 522% antidumping tariff imposed upon cold-rolled steel serves as a bold example of a potential flash point that could spark a far more devastating conflict, especially since economic interdependence helps mitigate the possibility of an armed conflict. On the other hand, strife is natural part of the recalibration process that must be embraced to confront misaligned public policies and national interests.
The political war between the gun-lobby and the gun-control lobby has longed relied upon emotion to enflame America’s struggle to balance civil liberties with national security interests. These tactics were certainly on display at the May, 2016 National Rifle Association’s Leadership Forum. As expected, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump issued dire warnings against electing Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton and the looming threat to gun rights she represents.
In turn, Trump- and NRA detractors unleashed a barrage of criticism that was quickly dismissed by NRA proponents. They should, however, carefully consider criticism that focuses on the NRA’s declining membership and political influence. By endorsing Donald Trump so early in the 2016 Election cycle, the NRA is doubling down on its traditional lobbying strategy, which involves supporting candidates who serve the agenda of the powerful lobbying firm. In doing so, the NRA also demonstrates how it prioritizes its political influence over its policy agenda.
The following was written by Guest Blogger Anant Mishra and does not reflect the views of The Washington Outsider or its staff.
Anant Mishra is a former Youth Representative to the United Nations. He has served extensively in the United Nations General Assembly as well as the Economic and Social Council.
The United Nations Development Program has revised their strategic plan for 2014-17 to include their plans for greater South-South Cooperation (SSC). The objective is to encourage more international and national partnerships, greater technology sharing, and greater solution building across the Southern Hemisphere. By looking at the phenomenal economic growth in the South, it is clear that this cooperation will open the doors for development in underdeveloped countries.
The importance of South – South Cooperation is in the agenda for many of the international conferences of today. Also known as “global South,” the need for South-South cooperation brings crucial discussions with respect to sectors, such as technology, trade, business, and global economics, while addressing domestic and international politics. It aims to build cooperation between nations in order to achieve their developmental agendas by sharing knowledge, skills, expertise, and manpower with each other. The objective of SSC is to promote self-development while creating an environment favourable to cooperation and coordination for growth across the overall global economy.
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