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Fareed Zakaria on Political Discontent

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I often watch Fareed Zakaria or read his articles. I don't necessarily agree with him on every issue, or perhaps the emphasis that he attaches to it, but I appreciate the intellectualism and outside the box thinking that his perspectives provide. Tufts' Independent Political Journal had a long interview with him on a range of mostly foreign policy issues, many of which we have discussed, debated in this website. For those so inclined, the rather long interview can be read here:

    Political Discontent in the Modern World: A Conversation with Fareed Zakaria by Anantya Sahney

    So if American foreign policy is your hot button, then you'll find something of interest here. Pick and choose...agree...disagree. I'll extract one paragraph of note.

    "What we are seeing right now is the breakdown of another imperial system: from Libya through Syria, across the greater Middle East, there was a stable order. It was an order of secular dictatorships that were supported by superpowers 30 to 40 years ago. That order has collapsed for a whole variety of reasons. One of the superpowers collapsed, the other one started retrenching, and both secularism and dictatorship became illegitimate in various ways within the Islamic world. And so what you discover in that part of the world is that when you get rid of the regime, it turns out there is no state under it. It turns out there is no civil society under the state, and in many cases it turns out that there is no nation under all of that. So what people are grasping for are their ascriptive identities, their oldest identities: Shia, Sunni, Kurd, Arab, Druze. And that is the great drama we are witnessing, and many of the things you talked about come out of that."
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt, My picture is likely a bit different. Because of WWI/ WWIIas well that Hitler stomped all around the middle east like Egypt , Libya etc. because of that, things got out of wack. Certain dictators worked their way up and borders were made where they should not have been. Also because the US won, we ruined the situation even more by just handing out money and weapons to the new dictators. We wanted "oil" in return. For the people on the street there was no improvement in life; they woke up slowly because of the worldwide information via T.V. and communication and saw how the rest of the world lives. The result is known. Thus in most cases we are to blame to just concentrate on the leaders and be able to steal their resources. Now our policies are backfiring.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Yes it usually is about oil and other natural resources. Afghanistan's untapped mineral wealth has been estimated at $900 billion! "The BBC's Jill McGivering says that at a time of growing despair about Afghanistan and its government, the portrayal of the country as a potential goldmine could help to bolster international resolve and paint the country as a prize worth fighting for." Now do you understand why it's so difficult to leave?

    Yes again on the demarcation of borders following WWII. They was little attention paid to the ethnicity or languages of the local populations....hence the forces of nationalism are not as strong as the local tribal bonds. However, even before national boundaries were established, achieving unity in a country like Afghanistan with its numerous ethnolinguistic groups and tribal sub-groupings was a major challenge. Take a look at this map:

    Afghanistan Ethnolinguistic Groups

    And outside of the Middle East, the eastern Ukraine is not only prime agricultural land but is also rich in coal deposits. That's sure an attractive piece of real estate for the Russians...a prize worth fighting for.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: Political Discontent in the Modern World: A Conversation with Fareed Zakaria by Anantya Sahney

    So if American foreign policy is your hot button, then you'll find something of interest here. Pick and choose...agree...disagree. I'll extract one paragraph of note.
    Great article. Thanks for sharing.

    I often read Fareed's articles, as well. I also don't agree with him one hundred percent of the time, but I do respect him and he definitely has a far better understanding of geo-politics than the vast majority of us 'regulars.'

    This statement is the one that stuck out most to me:
    "I think the fundamental way that Western intervention has radicalized the Islamic world is by supporting dictatorships for 50 or 60 years. And, more specifically, by supporting secular dictatorships, and in the case of Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries, supporting monarchies that were in cahoots with the most extreme religious elements. That policy of maintaining stability in the Arab world, at the price of any kind of political, social, and economic reform has produced all kinds of viruses and undercurrents that have been deeply damaging to both that region and the outside world. It seems to me that the verdict of history must be that that basic strategy had a huge unintended consequence."
    I've had numerous discussions about this very topic with people who both agree and disagree with me. Our government has directly and indirectly contributed to the turmoil that is going on throughout the world, especially in Middle-East Asia and it now seems that we have bit off a bit more than we can chew and don't really know how to put the genie back into the bottle.

    John Prados wrote a book titled 'Safe for Democracy' back in 2006 that transformed the way I look at my government and what it does to 'keep us safe.' He documented a decades long drive to prop up dictatorships throughout the world and directly funding and arming soon-to-be dictators who were fighting against anyone the United States considered an enemy. I was just about to graduate college around the time I read that book and I can honestly say it left a lasting impact on the way I view my government.

    Too many Americans are unaware of the secret wars that have been fought by this country, but I guarantee you that much of the rest of the world is aware of them. Our government has been on the wrong side of history for far too long and it now seems that the rest of the world is beginning to catch on.

    However, I do not believe that America plays no role in the world. I am not an isolationist who only wants us to focus on America. That is literally impossible to do in the modern age of global communication and globalization. I want my government to drop food, water, medicine, and blankets instead of bombs and missiles. I want my government to stand up for the rights of protesters instead of the dictators who are trying to quash them. And I want my government to show the rest of the world that we want to work with and not against them. We make up 316,000,000 of the 7,125,000,000 inhabitants of this earth. We really need to keep that in mind.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote: Political Discontent in the Modern World: A Conversation with Fareed Zakaria by Anantya Sahney

    So if American foreign policy is your hot button, then you'll find something of interest here. Pick and choose...agree...disagree. I'll extract one paragraph of note.
    Great article. Thanks for sharing.

    I often read Fareed's articles, as well. I also don't agree with him one hundred percent of the time, but I do respect him and he definitely has a far better understanding of geo-politics than the vast majority of us 'regulars.'

    This statement is the one that stuck out most to me:
    "I think the fundamental way that Western intervention has radicalized the Islamic world is by supporting dictatorships for 50 or 60 years. And, more specifically, by supporting secular dictatorships, and in the case of Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries, supporting monarchies that were in cahoots with the most extreme religious elements. That policy of maintaining stability in the Arab world, at the price of any kind of political, social, and economic reform has produced all kinds of viruses and undercurrents that have been deeply damaging to both that region and the outside world. It seems to me that the verdict of history must be that that basic strategy had a huge unintended consequence."
    I've had numerous discussions about this very topic with people who both agree and disagree with me. Our government has directly and indirectly contributed to the turmoil that is going on throughout the world, especially in Middle-East Asia and it now seems that we have bit off a bit more than we can chew and don't really know how to put the genie back into the bottle.

    John Prados wrote a book titled 'Safe for Democracy' back in 2006 that transformed the way I look at my government and what it does to 'keep us safe.' He documented a decades long drive to prop up dictatorships throughout the world and directly funding and arming soon-to-be dictators who were fighting against anyone the United States considered an enemy. I was just about to graduate college around the time I read that book and I can honestly say it left a lasting impact on the way I view my government.

    Too many Americans are unaware of the secret wars that have been fought by this country, but I guarantee you that much of the rest of the world is aware of them. Our government has been on the wrong side of history for far too long and it now seems that the rest of the world is beginning to catch on.

    However, I do not believe that America plays no role in the world. I am not an isolationist who only wants us to focus on America. That is literally impossible to do in the modern age of global communication and globalization. I want my government to drop food, water, medicine, and blankets instead of bombs and missiles. I want my government to stand up for the rights of protesters instead of the dictators who are trying to quash them. And I want my government to show the rest of the world that we want to work with and not against them. We make up 316,000,000 of the 7,125,000,000 inhabitants of this earth. We really need to keep that in mind.
    Exellent Jared; I've could have written the same thing; but few people accept this fact and stick their heads in the sand and wave flags and claim we are un-patrotic.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Jared and Dutch -- Yes, I agree. "Making the world safe for democracy" means different things to different people. The military's role is just one part of that equation. Our involvement usually involves strategic interests, or should I say capitalist or corporate interests as we seek to exploit the natural resources of countries abroad so we can maintain our standard of living in America. And now it's not just the natural resources, but also the people who are a cheap source of labor, and where the dictators don't care about the environment or the health and welfare of their citizens. That's also why we have to maintain so many military bases and outposts overseas.

    I watched a history program on TV last night about all the many castles and fortified outposts that dot the landscape of Britain. Most of these fortresses were built by the conquerors...the Romans in the 1st Century, and a thousand years later, William the Conqueror (also known as William the Bastard) being the two most noteworthy castle/fortress builders. These castle fortresses had a dual purpose...to protect against new invaders but also the local populace who didn't take kindly to being subjugated.

    In watching the program, however, I let my mind wander to our current day embassy/fortress in Baghdad and other walled embassies, consulates and military outposts that we are now building around the world, much the same as the Romans did 2000 years ago in trying to maintain control of their expanding empire and to protect themselves from the indigenous populations.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Jared and Dutch -- Yes, I agree. "Making the world safe for democracy" means different things to different people. The military's role is just one part of that equation. Our involvement usually involves strategic interests, or should I say capitalist or corporate interests as we seek to exploit the natural resources of countries abroad so we can maintain our standard of living in America. And now it's not just the natural resources, but also the people who are a cheap source of labor, and where the dictators don't care about the environment or the health and welfare of their citizens. That's also why we have to maintain so many military bases and outposts overseas.

    I watched a history program on TV last night about all the many castles and fortified outposts that dot the landscape of Britain. Most of these fortresses were built by the conquerors...the Romans in the 1st Century, and a thousand years later, William the Conqueror (also known as William the Bastard) being the two most noteworthy castle/fortress builders. These castle fortresses had a dual purpose...to protect against new invaders but also the local populace who didn't take kindly to being subjugated.

    In watching the program, however, I let my mind wander to our current day embassy/fortress in Baghdad and other walled embassies, consulates and military outposts that we are now building around the world, much the same as the Romans did 2000 years ago in trying to maintain control of their expanding empire and to protect themselves from the indigenous populations.
    Schmidt, yes a 100% right; sure we need to have a 5000 men Embassy in Iraq; military in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Mali Syria, Agnanistan ,bases all over the place; in Germany and Japan already since WWII; sure it cost nothing but "it keeps us save"; don't let me laugh. The more we meddle and show our ugly side the more they will hate us; this escalation will be as with Napolean ; it will be our Waterloo.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    But wasn't that the point? Imperialism gave us a 7-11 on every corner. A Mc Donalds, Wendys, Jack in the Box and every other fast food joint...so we could have all of this immediately and in abundance. You and I on a single day can go to a pro football, baseball or basketball game, catch a show afterward or maybe even a cook-out. Stop at a liquor store on the way home and maybe rent a video out of Red Box.
    Options , options, options.....Toy's R Us, Petco, Wal Mart, Target, Nascar, no car, gambling, sex, music, entertainment.....and endless access to everything.
    This is why people come here. This is what they truly want.....democracy???/ I don't think so....they dream of this standard of living....To be pigs...just like us.

    Our lifestyle requires that others must suffer, and everyone seems to be okay with that. Everyone! If an American pig had to give up anything just to slow our imperialistic ways,,,,,he'd say............"drop more bombs" That's the reality. ME, ME, ME
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    But wasn't that the point? Imperialism gave us a 7-11 on every corner. A Mc Donalds, Wendys, Jack in the Box and every other fast food joint...so we could have all of this immediately and in abundance. You and I on a single day can go to a pro football, baseball or basketball game, catch a show afterward or maybe even a cook-out. Stop at a liquor store on the way home and maybe rent a video out of Red Box.
    Options , options, options.....Toy's R Us, Petco, Wal Mart, Target, Nascar, no car, gambling, sex, music, entertainment.....and endless access to everything.
    This is why people come here. This is what they truly want.....democracy???/ I don't think so....they dream of this standard of living....To be pigs...just like us.

    Our lifestyle requires that others must suffer, and everyone seems to be okay with that. Everyone! If an American pig had to give up anything just to slow our imperialistic ways,,,,,he'd say............"drop more bombs" That's the reality. ME, ME, ME
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    L.A. It is not quite so; people in Afghanistan eat rather a goat than an Mc.Donald burger; however we bombed the goat so now they are forced to eat our burger supplied by the charity drive of our churches. In the meantime we smoke their supplied "white stuff" and started a pet store for their not yet bombed donkey's in the middle of no-where.
  • Liberal
    Other Party
    Llos Angeles, CA
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    On Wall Street corporations must grow at least 7% per year so that the investors constantly grow their money....this requires the exploitation of new markets.
    Correct, our corporations will be the one's to replace burgers for goats......eventually this allows corporations here bombarding us with all the "good stuff" that the gluttonous pig thinks he needs. (Big remotes, bigger T.V., iphone 7, and the new tickle me Elmo). China and India are prime examples.
    US corporations exploited these markets yeasr ago,,,,and now China and India have become experts exploiting their own people. And now these two countries have enough wealth and flipped the game on us. NAFTA and GATT killed this country. (Bill Clinton) It was the democrats that passed PLRA, and AEDPA which expanded the powers of The DEA, FBI, DOJ, ATF and every police agency using capital letters. Bush only expanded what Clinton had started. This is why I laugh when they say Bill was a great President. A thief just like the rest of them. The only difference between these two parties are social issues, (meaningless)

    I had suggested "KING OF CONS" (Aaron Tonken) months ago. I was in prison with him. He is responsible for Hilliary Clintons campaign manager being indicted.
  • Independent
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    L.A. Citizen Wrote: On Wall Street corporations must grow at least 7% per year so that the investors constantly grow their money....this requires the exploitation of new markets.
    Correct, our corporations will be the one's to replace burgers for goats......eventually this allows corporations here bombarding us with all the "good stuff" that the gluttonous pig thinks he needs. (Big remotes, bigger T.V., iphone 7, and the new tickle me Elmo). China and India are prime examples.
    US corporations exploited these markets yeasr ago,,,,and now China and India have become experts exploiting their own people. And now these two countries have enough wealth and flipped the game on us. NAFTA and GATT killed this country. (Bill Clinton) It was the democrats that passed PLRA, and AEDPA which expanded the powers of The DEA, FBI, DOJ, ATF and every police agency using capital letters. Bush only expanded what Clinton had started. This is why I laugh when they say Bill was a great President. A thief just like the rest of them. The only difference between these two parties are social issues, (meaningless)

    I had suggested "KING OF CONS" (Aaron Tonken) months ago. I was in prison with him. He is responsible for Hilliary Clintons campaign manager being indicted.
    l.a., i call it the deathstyle. it is a combination of political corporatism (the state bent to the will of the corporation), blind consumption, hyper-suburbanization and finite resources. people speak of capitalism as being self-destroying. this is not quite accurate. capitalists are self-destroying. the philosophy of capitalism with private property and transactions conducted within a system of laws, boundaries of regulations is not self-destructive. in truth it cannot be as long as the key boundaries, laws and regulations are in place and enforced. once those are removed or weakened then the capitalist can engage in self-destructive and destructive of others behavior. this is a key point as to why the fallacies of the "free market" and libertarianism are so. we must remember that economics is not science but philosophy and therefore economic theories must be discarded when factual evidence shows them to be in error. but as long as the narrative of the philosophy of reaganomics is in place we will not see the changes required.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Lonely, I can't quite agree; sure there are laws and boundaries to curtail exesses; however they no longer apply if corruption and law twisting happens all the time. Sorry capitalism in this country is so reworked that it is all in favor of the "have's" and the " not have's" get only bled a bit more as time goes on.
    Guess who makes these regulations? Of course the one's who make sure their "buddy" lobbyists get it their way. No, capitalism is held hostage by the 1%.
    A government works best if all parties are equaly represented like in the Netherlands which is a socialistic country; there are at least 10 parties ranging from communist to capitalistic one's. The danger here, like the Tea party, Koch brothers, John Birch society, Pentagon etc. they may become the one's who run this country; then we will move slowly but surely to a full capitalistic dictatorship. Do you want that?
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Eleven years ago when the Republicans had control of all three branches of government, Sheldon Wolin wrote about inverted totalitarianism, a term he coined. The subtitle of his article read: How the Bush regime is effecting the transformation to a fascist-like state.

    Sheldon Wolin, The Nation, May 1, 2003: Inverted Totalitarianism

    Note the date...it was just five weeks after Operation Shock and Awe, when Bush launched his invasion of Iraq. I'll extract one paragraph...

    "Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment. What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic."

    Wolin goes on to identify the elements for inverted totalitarianism that are in place: "a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers."

    Helping to drive the trends is a "sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media", along with well funded conservative think tanks and foundations that support the propaganda machine...and "increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents."

    You can read his entire article in The Nation at the above link. Wolin contrasts his description of trends towards inverted totalitarianism that he saw in America's political discourse versus the kind of fascism that emerged in Hitler's Germany. So eleven and a half years later, do Wolin's concerns hold true today as well?

    One could probably go even further back in time to ask, when did it all start? Or maybe it has always been there, a form of class warfare, that has its battles over time...but the war never really ends.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote: Eleven years ago when the Republicans had control of all three branches of government, Sheldon Wolin wrote about inverted totalitarianism, a term he coined. The subtitle of his article read: How the Bush regime is effecting the transformation to a fascist-like state.

    Sheldon Wolin, The Nation, May 1, 2003: Inverted Totalitarianism

    Note the date...it was just five weeks after Operation Shock and Awe, when Bush launched his invasion of Iraq. I'll extract one paragraph...

    "Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment. What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic."

    Wolin goes on to identify the elements for inverted totalitarianism that are in place: "a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers."

    Helping to drive the trends is a "sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media", along with well funded conservative think tanks and foundations that support the propaganda machine...and "increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents."

    You can read his entire article in The Nation at the above link. Wolin contrasts his description of trends towards inverted totalitarianism that he saw in America's political discourse versus the kind of fascism that emerged in Hitler's Germany. So eleven and a half years later, do Wolin's concerns hold true today as well?

    One could probably go even further back in time to ask, when did it all start? Or maybe it has always been there, a form of class warfare, that has its battles over time...but the war never really ends.
    Schmidt, right on; indeed very dangerous; I wonder if in 2016 people wake up; but doubt it.