The aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which hit the US mainland, enjoyed far more intense attention from professional media outlets and the American People than it improbably should have when considering the scope of the damage it caused. In contrast, Hurricane Maria seems to have received far less attention, especially from the American People. Maria has, however, done far more damage and caused far more devastation to the United States than Irma. It just so happens the damage was done to US Territory Puerto Rico instead of a State like Florida.
Amid criticism of the Trump Administration’s response to the unfolding humanitarian disaster in Puerto Rico, which saw its infrastructure thoroughly devastated, one is reminded of the Bush Administration’s mishandling of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The American People strongly condemned the lack of leadership as well as the lack of preparedness by FEMA. Trump’s apparent indifference toward Puerto Ricans aside, a lack of outrage shows Americans as a People have grown increasingly indifferent toward the suffering of “outsiders.” For Puerto Rico, the Press and President are supposed to care, so there is criticism. There is, however, a lack of genuine empathy when it comes those facing crises in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
North Korea and the Trump Administration are speaking. More specifically, the Kim regime is responding to the Trump Administration’s rhetoric and confrontational gestures. In turn, Washington is responding to Pyongyang’s rhetoric and provocative missile tests. It is easy to assume the exchanges are nothing more than a troubling sign that war is on the horizon, but the fact that Kim Jong-un responds to anything the US President does and vice versa shows the two revivals have an open line of communication. Clearly, the angry, belligerent responses of Kim and Trump are far from ideal. They do, however, offer an opportunity to build a dialogue.
Whenever two or more people react to each other, communication takes place. In the case of North Korea and the United States, both nations are trying to use displays of military force to warn the other. The leaders of both nations are using insults to stoke patriotism and garner support among the populous by creating a unifying enemy. By chance, they are also speaking to each other. Just as disputing couples need neutral counselors to help translate their emotionally-charged comments into coherent dialogue and mediate a resolution, North Korea and the United States, which is hostile toward North Korea in order to protect its Asian allies, need an honest broker.
United, the People of a nation are stronger than divided. When there is a common cause, or enemy, it can be relatively easy to unite even the most diverse populations. When there are sharp political differences, deep cultural divisions, and irreconcilable grievances, even the strongest of unions face the prospects of secession. The European Union, for example, had managed to unite the highly diverse nations of Europe, which were fierce revivals until the Cold War, as part of an effort to secure the continent’s economic outlook. The so-called Brexit, i.e. Britain’s exist from the EU, amid years of economic hardships has, of course, blunted the EU project.
In the US, the State of Texas has, from time to time, has threatened to secede from the Union. With the American Civil War in mind, secession is prohibited by the US Constitution. The US was formed as a political entity designed to transcend culture and assimilate immigrant populations into a new territory, thus all US citizens have a shared right to all US territory. Most countries, however, were formed out of communities with their own cultures and historic claims to the lands they occupy. As such, the sovereign rights of the Nation come second to the desires of the families and communities that have lived in territories for centuries or more. In their minds, the right to self-govern means the right to secede, which is about to be tested in Spain and Iraq.
Republican efforts to reveal Obamacare share one devastating fault. They all result in the loss of health insurance for around 20 million or more Americans. The latest legislative effort under Republican leadership, the Graham-Cassidy plan, threatens to dramatically curtail federal funding to Medicaid and result in, at least, 21 million Americans going without health insurance. Although Republicans are using opposition to Obamacare as a means to garner support among their base, twenty million is a big number that could represent a big voting block capable of undermining Republican chances on a national level. Even if all 20 million were not compelled to lash out against Republicans, the number of those who would is enough to stir strong emotions among Democrats and moderates.
The greatest defense of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare, was never the Obama Administration’s constant defense of the legislation, Democratic control of the Federal government, or any of its successes. In fact, Democrats hurt themselves by defending the shortcomings of the legislation. Doing so rallied Republican supporters to repeal Obamacare and discouraged Democratic support who could not rally around a tainted healthcare reform effort with limited successes. Today, Republicans face similar backlash, because they lack a better option. The greatest defense of Obamacare comes from framing repeal as the loss of health coverage. To save themselves from this booby trap, Republicans must either give up on repeal or work with Democrats to further healthcare reform efforts.
The Rohingya Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Hypocrisy: Democracy Requires Government to Transcend Racism
Myanmar, formerly the British colony of Burma, and celebrated Noble Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, who is now the de facto civilian leader of Myanmar, have longed captured the attention of global elites. This attention has largely resulted from the efforts of Aung San Suu Kyi and her prolonged status as a political prison. The daughter of Myanmar’s founding father Aung San, and the employee of UN Secretary General U Thant, Aung San Suu Kyi was positioned perfectly to make tiny Burma’s cause a cause for the International Community. After several false transitions, bloody uprisings, and humanitarian disasters, it finally appeared the ruling military junta was ready to secede power in 2008 and embrace democratization.
In 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi won a seat in Parliament. In 2012, her Party, the National League for Democracy won by a landslide. Although banned from holding the Presidency, due to a xenophobic Constitutional clause that prohibits spouses and parents of foreign citizens from holding the position, Suu Kyi chose to maintain an official role in the democratic government by utilizing Htin Kyaw as a puppet President. Not only has her unwillingness to step aside cost Myanmar true democratic leadership, the ongoing need to appease the military means Myanmar has yet to fully democratize. Aung San Suu Kyi’s propaganda, disinformation-laced speech to the UN revealed the true influence of the military over the ill-democratic government and the ugly side of democracy.
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