Tag Archives: Syria

Listen — Let It Swirl Around Your Head, Then Form Your Opinion

In the past two weeks, I’ve seen a lot of people make a lot of different arguments about why they support/oppose intervening in Syria. Of all the arguments I’ve heard, the ones that irritate me the most: “I’m a Democrat/liberal and Pres. Obama thinks we should go to Syria, so I think we have to intervene.” OR “I’m a Republican/conservative and we can’t give Pres. Obama what he wants, so we shouldn’t intervene.” Both of these arguments (and the many derivatives thereof) are quite frankly, awful. They’re just awful.

Basing your opinion on a label like Democrat or a label like Republican is so near-sighted. A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about labels for political ideologies and parties. In that post, I linked to a video from Chris Rock talking about political ideologies and parties. The video has since been taken down, but I did find a few other versions of it (here, here, and here). My purpose in sharing this clip is not because I want you to change your mind and support intervening or change your mind and not support intervening, no. It’s because I want you to make up your mind for yourself.

As I said a few days ago, it’s difficult to know when being in the minority is the right thing to do. It’s even harder to know if that’s right when you’re blindly following the opinion of someone else. So, take a minute (that’s the length of the clip!) and watch Chris Rock.

Warning: NSFW language!

Note: The title of this post is a line from the video.

Does the Middle East Today Look Like Europe Before WWI?

I recently saw a tweet that was rather intriguing:

If you care about international relations, this probably was rather intriguing to you, too. The part that got me interested was the comparison between what Europe looked like before WWI and what the Middle East looks like today. There’s been plenty written about the Middle East with things happening in Syria, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc. So, I thought this post from Foreign Policy would make some interesting parallels between what Europe looked like then and what the Middle East looks like now.

Sadly, this wasn’t the case. It seemed that this brief article was more about what the strategy should be for the US in the region. While that’s probably important, I was more interested in looking at things from a historical perspective. As far as I can tell, history often repeats itself and as a result, it is one of our greatest teachers. So, if we could learn something about what happened in Europe before WWI, that might give us some indication of how things are going to proceed in the Middle East. Of course, it’d be purely speculative, but it might be enlightening.

I don’t know enough about what Europe looked like before WWI nor do I know enough about what the Middle East looks like now to make informed guesses. If I did, you can be sure that the rest of this post would have been a comparison of those two topics. The one thing I will say, though, is that I bet that if conflict does bubble over like the Admiral is *kind of* predicting might happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some parallels to what happened before WWI.

Are We Missing Something?

In following up on what , had a small bit on her tonight talking about all of the different parts of the Middle East that are experiencing seemingly revolutionary events. I think it’s quite amazing just how many different countries are going through similar unrest. I can’t imagine that anything like this has ever happened in history before.

A couple of weeks back I had the chance to catch a few scenes of . I had already seen the movie before, so it was less about ‘watching a movie’ and more about remembering what the movie was about. As I was watching it and experiencing having “ultimate” powers with the main character, I was struck by how narrow-minded the character was. The character (Bruce) was so focused on improving his immediate life and not exponentially or anything, just the ‘next’ promotion.

He thought that all he needed in life was this promotion and he worked his butt off (even with super powers) to get it. Eventually, the main character realizes that there’s more to life than getting that job that he thought he wanted. However, this is not quite what I’m interested in talking about today.

The character was so focused on what was in front of him that he was missing what was around him. His girlfriend at the time, played by Jennifer Aniston, had been anticipating a marriage proposal. When she thought she was about to receive the proposal, the male protagonist had called her to dinner to tell her that he had finally got the promotion that he was after. Heartbroken, she leaves him, but eventually, things all work out happily in the end.

In the world right now, there is so much happening. There are numerous reforms happening in the Middle East, there are happening all around the globe, there is political unrest in Wisconsin as the in the state that created them, but most of all, the needle of time continues to move from left to right. I wonder, with everything that’s happening in the world in here and now, what are we missing in the grander picture of Earth. What is it that we’re not seeing because we’re so caught up in what’s happening right now?