Russian support of the Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War and the Ukraine Crisis are driving the US, Europe, and the Middle East to treat Russia as an enemy, which is evaluating the risk of a nuclear world war. From the Russian perspective, however, the Ukraine Crisis and Western criticism of Russian intervention in Syria fits nicely into the Cold War narrative of US provocation. The Putin government frames both situations as necessary responses to NATO expansion, Western interference in the domestic affairs of other nations, and US efforts to overthrow unfavorable governments.
The West sees the Ukraine Crisis as a confrontation made necessary by dominance while Russian support of the Assad regime is seen as a destructive move to support a regime that provoked a civil war for the sake of maintaining power. Although the Putin governments claims all its policies were made necessary due to Western meddling, the West believes Russia planned these events long before Western reactions to developing situations justified current Russian policies. Both sides will say they are confronting the other for provocations, yet neither will confront the underlying grievances that drive the antagonist relations between the West and Russia.
Saudi-led airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Syrian Civil War showcase the impotency of the International Community as a quorum of international governance and the United States as a superpower trying to prevent the spread of anarchy. Where the Syrian Civil War demonstrates the inability of the US and the rest of International Community to curtail the destructive defiance of world power Russia, or even that of the Assad regime for that matter, Saudi Arabia’s violent response to the Iranian-supported Houthi rebellion, including potential human rights violations, also leave the US with few options.
In Yemen, the US must either spurn its ally, thereby imperiling Saudi help in stabilizing the region and dealing with Islamic State, or risk aiding Saudi human rights violations in an attempt to limit civilian causalities with greater precision. Regrettably, neither option fulfills the broader interests of the US or the International Community; therefore, another way forward must be found. Because Yemen borders Saudi Arabia and Al Qaeda has long used the country as a safe haven, efforts by Houthi rebels to seize control of Yemen affect the national security of Saudi Arabia and the region. Changes in the Yemeni government would not, however, necessarily be a problem for the Saudis as long as an Iran-free Yemen maintains some degree of stability.
Donald Trump has proven to be such a polarizing, belligerent, and, quite frankly, offensive candidate that his constant stream of new controversies has managed to outshine Hillary Clinton’s most troubling scandals. Where the Hillary Clinton Wikileaks Revelations, which paint a picture of a political insider catering to Wall Street special interests, should have blunted the chances of the Democratic nominee, the focus of the 2016 US Presidential Election was immediately pulled to Trump’s apparent history of sexual misconduct. What is most unfortunate about the scandals surrounding both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is that the American People did not learn of them until it was too late to make a difference in the election.
Transparency, and ultimately accountability, is essential for proper governance, but selective transparency is a means to manipulate public perception and undermine democracy. The Wikileaks data dump on Hillary Clinton is not problematic, because it exposes upsetting and seemingly hypocritical statements by Clinton. That is a beneficial aspect of the revelations. The document release is problematic, because the one-sided disclosures by Wikileaks are distorting public perception against Hillary Clinton and, in a broader context over time, the United States. Although revelations about Donald Trump help “balance” the effect on public perception in one sense, the strategic timing of the release weeks before the November election distorts public perception.
Wikileaks caused then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a major headache in 2010 when the whistleblower site released a massive throve of US State Department diplomatic cables. Where the hacked documents may have done more to provide transparency into the workings of the US State Department than actually hurt the US government, even though the embarrassment did give America’s foreign partners greater leverage over the United States, the massive data dump of hacked-Clinton documents is clearly a threat to the Presidential candidate’s career.
With Republican nominee Donald Trump as her competitor, however, this latest release from Wikileaks will do little to actually upset the outcome of the US Presidential Election. After all, Donald Trump has managed to create a constant stream of controversies throughout the 2016 Presidential Election that stolen the focus from Hillary Clinton’s own controversies. If anything, the Wikileaks dump will demoralize already demoralized US voters, thereby dissuading even more American voters from participating in the upcoming election. On the other hand, the manner in which Wikileaks disproportionately targets the US and American figures makes Wikileaks a disruptive force instead of a conduit for transparency.
Hurricane Matthew was a powerful storm that has caused billions in damage and cost dozens of US citizens their lives. As painful as Hurricane Matthew has been for the United States, the perpetually impoverished nation of Haiti faces far more dire circumstances. Still struggling to overcome the devastation of the 2010 Haitian Earthquake and a legacy of economic despair, Haitians fear a return of the cholera epidemic that was introduced by UN Aid Workers. With the UN already asking for $120 million in donations to help rebuild the Island, the initial death toll in Haiti is expected to surpass 1,000, which is a powerful reminder that poverty and natural disasters are a particularly lethal combination.
Unfortunately, this story is a familiarly one from Haiti and it is a story that will continue to arise after every natural disaster, until something is done to change the fate of the Haitian People. On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, the worst earthquake in two centuries to hit Haiti brought the world together in an effort to alleviate the suffering of some of the most desperate humans on this planet. Regrettably, billions of dollars in foreign aid failed to translate into a full recovery, despite the Caribbean Island's status as the West's favorite charity case. Recognizing humanitarian disasters, such as the Syrian Civil War and the Syrian Refugee Crisis, have created an overwhelming need for humanitarian aid, countries like Haiti need to overcome their reliance on international interventions before their plights become far more hopeless.
Read old posts