US President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir, and Chinese President Xi Jinping in their 2015 speeches to the UN Assembly sounded more like candidates on the campaign trail than three of the world’s most powerful leaders. In many respects, they are competing for global influence at time when the International Community needs renewed leadership and more effective solutions to mounting crises. Although there will not be a single winner, the one who garners the most support from the nations and Peoples of the world will determine the course of our global society.
Taking the first turn at the international bully pulpit, President Jinping used the occasion to solicit international support by donating a billion dollars to the UN for a “peace and development fund,” 100 million dollars to the African for the creation of a rapid response unit, and 8,000 peacekeeping troops. President Obama, however, sought to rekindle support for American leadership with an argument based on aspirations while criticizing Putin, as well as others, for aggressive and counterproductive policies. In turn, President Putin aimed a great deal of criticism at the faults of US policy in his effort to capitalize on national security and economics concerns.
As one of the world’s most influential social leaders, the call for an all-inclusive, peaceful society by Pope Francis has been well received among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. To be an all-inclusive society is, however, to invite conflict. After all, differences become potential points of conflict when people interact. To thrive, an all-inclusive society, therefore, must confront potential flashpoints.
This is a particularly important lesson in our globalized world where countries as different as the US and China compete. The divergent governing philosophies of the United States and China, along with deeply entrenched cultural differences, guarantee the US and China will conflict, so it is how these inevitable conflicts are addressed that matters.
If you wish to defeat the devil, you must untwist the anger, despair, and pain of Satan the demon to discover the beauty of Lucifer the angel.
Pope Francis is the community leader of Catholics around the world. It is, therefore, natural for the Pope’s visit to the White House to draw so much attention that it nearly eclipses all other news stories. As expected, the media has been abuzz about his message of healing, tolerance, and inclusive. By framing the Pope’s actions and words as though he is supposed to be a political leader, however, the media has helped distort the role of religious leadership in society and undermine the value of his message.
John Carr, the director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University, has called Pope Francis “the ultimate Washington Outsider.” In doing so, he reveals a misunderstanding of the Washington Outsider concept. A Washington Outsider, or political outsider in a broader sense, is not a troublemaker or a contrarian as the term has been defined by movements like the Tea Party. A Washington Outsider is a political figure from outside of the powerful inner political circles, which our control nation, who seeks to make politics more open and government more responsive to the interests of their constituents.
Afghanistan is known as “the graveyard of empires.” Russia learned this to be true due to the Soviet–Afghan War when its extended campaign in Afghanistan helped bankrupt the Soviet Union. Although US operations in Afghanistan suffered thanks to the Iraq War, Iraq proved to be the battleground that overwhelmed the US military. In many respects, it was America’s second Vietnam.
As Russia charges into Syria in defense of the Assad regime, Syria could quickly become Russia’s second Afghanistan. Prior to the Iraq War, few would have believed the US military would have so much difficulty stabilizing such a small nation. Similarly, there are those who will find it hard to believe the Russian military will be exhausted by its fight to secure the Assad regime.
The value of something is based on how much people think it is worth. In countries like the US, the widespread use of predetermined prices has helped eliminate the distorting effects of perspective, which can drastically affect the profit margin of a good or service. Like antiques and other collectibles, the process of negotiating a price for a service introduces personal bias that can devalue a service so much that the service provider no earn an income. When trying to address issues like poverty, socioeconomic status, i.e. the social leverage, of a business owner or contractor must be considered.
It is said America was built by immigrants, but migrant workers have always been looked down upon as inferior and lazy, i.e. their work is worth less. Where people now look back on history to appreciate the contributions of immigrants, they were once seen as a plague. Just as people in history found every means of justifying their bigotry toward immigrants and devaluing what they did, the US immigration debate of today too often reveals the same sentiments. Looking at the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the same is clearly true elsewhere. In fact, the same can be seen when discussing economic disparity among minorities, women, and the impoverished.
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