Foreign Policy and International Topics of Interest for Think Tanks and Radio Listeners

Greetings everyone on this 18th day of October 2012, I sincerely hope your day is going better than those who live in Syria where the refugee border camps are filling up and neighboring nations can’t really afford to take anymore, as 36,000 people have already died in that civil war according to UN figures, which I guess one could say are unreliable, nevertheless my sources do tell me the numbers is very high, perhaps even close to that 36K number. So, it’s a tragedy anyway you look at it.
Okay so, let’s get right into today’s talk show and well you know the format; “I talk you listen, you listen, then we open up the phone lines for your questions and comments, and feel-free because you don’t have to agree, you just have to have an intellectual counter argument, or a decent comment, and we are all good to go, if not, as you know – click goes your dial tone – so fair warning.”
Since the up-coming final presidential debate will be primarily on foreign policy, we will start there, as these last few debates, if you can call them that, well, they certainly aren’t helping along our national dialogue with sound bites of 2-minutes at a time and with at least enough interruptions to run you out of toes and fingers to count with. Reminds me of a reality TV series where 2-people are left on the island and they are arguing to stay – well, let’s get into it now – because we are once again at the top of the hour and it’s time to play – game on!
Now then, according to the Futurist Magazine, November-December issue 2012, there was an article in Future Scope in their September-October issue on page 4 discussing the challenges with the beef industry. You see, droughts in the US have hurt the beef industry something terrible, and according to the article; “China’s Growing Appetite for Meat Will Strain Global Supply,” these challenges could be exacerbated. We already know this is something we’ve been told from reading the news and understanding the serious nature of the drought this year. Of course, we know some of the pacing and moaning has been due to the Farm Bill (packed with pork for food stamps I might add – which is corporate welfare plus a social program) which Congress is trying to get passed, and the lobbyists such as the big corporate farms.
Still, it is a serious and real issue, even on the Mississippi River they noted that many of the barges were parked, and there was a traffic jam of some 100 barges as they had to navigate the center of the river due to the low volume, and there was no two-way traffic. This doesn’t bode well for US farm exports, or manufacturing exports which use that waterway to get to the Gulf of Mexico, the port in New Orleans.
We also know that many of the cattle ranchers took their cattle to slaughter early because they couldn’t afford to feed due to the drought issues, and cattle drink lots of water as well. This meant be prices were at an all-time low for a very short period of time, and now the demand has far outpaced the supply and the prices are will be far too great.
Incidentally, in Tennessee the favorite restaurant chain “Backyard Burgers” filed bankruptcy, and there will be more, the price of beef was a factor along with new regulations and health care costs – aka Obama Care.
Saudi Arabia is now attempting to get into the beef and dairy industry, even though there is very little water and they must import their feed, but I suppose they can trade for oil, plenty of that stuff, plus new fracking strategies allow for more – so peak oil is going to have to take a hike for a while, although that day too is coming to a Kingdom near you if you live in the Middle East.
Still, what about the perpetual drought problem in Saudi Arabia, pretty much a desert in many parts? Well, yes it is, but they are using desalination techniques, and trying their hand at building special airflow condensers to keep the cattle cool. Could this be a new industry for them, they think so. Not to mention the fact that there is a huge market and demand for meat around the globe. China for instance, they’re eating more and more beef these days.
Meanwhile, according to the Wall Street Journal cattle ranchers are working to use predetermined-sex artificial insemination strategies now, why you ask, to produce more female cows. This will allow them to increase their herds more rapidly when the water comes back, the feed prices come down, and things return to normal – question is; what is the new normal going to be? In the past it’s taken years to rebuild the herds after large scale droughts, and that doesn’t bode so well for our first world nation which eats quite a bit of meat. It looks as though free-market capitalism in the global marketplace is working around these issues, but the beef industry is hardly out of the woods yet.
And speaking of the global marketplace, we aren’t the only nation anymore looking for an intelligent workforce and recruiting from all over the planet. Today we are competing with Europe, China, Brazil, India, the Middle East, Japan, Australia, Canada and many other nations some first world, some emerging. My question is; are we burning are potential here at home? That is to say; are we playing too much patty-cake in our schools, using too much political correctness, and creating too many socialist tendencies to produce the hard work ethic needed for math and science at the upper divisions?
Do we have enough Tiger Moms and parents that value education to get this done? Speaking of which in Discover Magazine in the October 2012 issue there was a very interesting article by Derek Lowe titled; “The Contrarian View – America Doesn’t Have a Scientist Shortage,” and the author stated; “we need to worry about the quality, not the quantity of US scientists.” Indeed, I think I concur with this because it has also been noted that while India and China are graduating more engineers and scientists, and are now surpassing the United States in the number of research papers produced and patents filed, much of the quality is not up to par, and their research papers are not publishable in the higher end scientific journals.
Not to mention they are often plagued with plagiarism, errors, mistakes, and false data through cheating on the tests and results within their scientific studies. Interestingly enough doesn’t this get back to the 80/20 rule? Where 80% of the people are taking up space and only 20% of the people are really doing anything? And really isn’t there an 80/20 rule on top of that where 80% of the remaining 20%, equaling 4% is really where it’s at? And if only 4% of the scientists are really making significant headway, why do we everyone else, why not focus on the best and brightest?
Merely sending people to school so they can make more money or get better jobs, or become scientist may not be relevant unless they can pull their weight, make new discoveries, and therefore we get a return on investment for all those research dollars are government is pumping into the sciences. Besides that have you looked at college tuition costs rising at 5% to 7% per annum, wouldn’t you like that level of return in your investment portfolio since the turn of the century? And what about 9.6% and rising student loan default rates? We need to rethink all this, well, your thoughts might be interesting once we open up the call lines.
In Foreign Affairs Magazine September-October 2012 issue there was an interesting article by Andrew J Nathan and Andrew Scobel titled “How China Sees America” where they state that China sees the US as aggressive and hostile, and to that I say; “what a coincidence, does anyone have a mirror they can borrow, or did they already steal that intellectual property and design to make those mirrors to sell to Wal-Mart to sell here?” What brought on that article on, why did the author write it you ask?
Well, I suppose it was the comments by Mitt Romney on the campaign trail, and part of his five-point economic plan where he said he would crack down on China as a currency manipulator, along with their intellectual property theft, cyber-attacks and information stealing, along with their own aggressive actions in their surrounding territorial waters which are also claimed by nations like Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam. All of which have had words, and conflicts on the sea, sometimes over mere shoals, protruding rocks, and tiny islands.
Now China has an aircraft carrier in its Communist Red Army’s Navy and so one could say that their military is no longer just about protecting the mainland, but projecting force, after all isn’t that what aircraft carriers are for? This new aircraft carrier of theirs, albeit an old refurbished one which should have been sold for scrap or turned into an amusement park like the now famous Noah’s Ark replica in Hong Kong, will soon begin sea trials and aircraft operations.
Perhaps The RAND Corporation made a terrible tactical error, albeit perhaps politically correct at the time when they wrote the paper about “China’s International Behavior” where the paper insisted that China was consistent and nonaggressive, and yes, even the CFR Council on Foreign Relations, which I’ve often called the Council on Foreign Appeasement is still out today promoting China as benevolent. Still, it wasn’t more than a year later after that Rand research report when all this other stuff started, along with their new military bases and port operations which are often referred to as the “string of pearls” which keep growing in size and numbers all the way to Pakistan which signed over a deep sea port of theirs on the Arabian Sea.
Therefore maybe Mitt Romney is right, and maybe the authors of this Foreign Affairs Magazine should be more concerned with what’s going on, rather than what either of our nation’s thinks about the other, because obviously they don’t care, and they see trade along the same line graph as war, only to a lesser degree, they’ve even stated so. Further, it’s hard to say why people in the United States trust any product coming from China after the poisonous pet food, the chemicals in the drywall, the lead in the toy paint, or the protein in the fish feed and livestock feed where those products are then processed and sent to the United States consumer. Mitt Romney is right and China needs to play fair, why is that not the order of the day in the Obama Administration – I mean last time he went to visit they dressed him up in a Mao Costume for the stage, remember?
Next, there was another interesting article in that Foreign Affairs issue, it was titled “America the Undertaxed – US Fiscal Policy and Perspective,” by Andrea Louise Campbell and in her article she had a chart showing which nations were taxed the most, and which were taxed the least. The socialist European nations were taxed the highest starting with Denmark and Sweden at 48%. The United States, Chile and Mexico were at the bottom at 24.1, 18.4, and 17.4 respectively. Personally, I don’t think it is right to compare the United States to a socialist nation, and I believe with our self-reliant upbringing, and our strong traditions we need not go in that direction, nor would we really enjoy a large centralized big government Nanny State.
You see, those other nations have very small populations, and previously very homogeneous perhaps not as much today, but then again their economies are not doing all that great now are they? The United States is a nation of immigrants, and people have come here from all over the world, we have many cultures mixing in our society, and huge populations.
Most of those socialist Nordic countries have very small populations, and we have many cities with populations far more than that, not to mention some of our largest states. We shouldn’t compare a country with a population of 4 to 12 million and assume those strategies will work with the United States with states like California and just Southern California alone will soon be approaching 20 million.
As far as I am concerned it’s unfortunate that Foreign Affairs Magazine has such jaded articles towards the socialist point of view. Yes, it is an academic intellectual point of view, but that doesn’t make it right, that just proves that our academia has also been infiltrated with these poorly thought out economics theories, ones which don’t not work, and for example we can look at Argentina, Venezuela, Greece, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and of course Portugal – and realize I’m only naming a few.
Some of the same people do not believe in free-market capitalism or capitalism at all. In fact in that same Foreign Affairs Magazine there was an article suggesting that positive GDP growth might not be good at all; “Is Growth Good – Resources, Development and the Future of the Planet,” by Francis Beinecke, who immediately suggested; “environmentalists do not oppose growth,” however, here in the United States they surely do. And if some of these academics would get out of their lecturing halls and run a real business in the real world they might see it is quite evident that environmentalists do oppose growth, on every corner in every city and town in the United States or the world for that matter.
Just go try to put in a new restaurant, carwash, retail store, apartment complex, or God forbid some industrial business? You will be tied up in Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) until you either run out of money pain lawyers, or the bank which was going to fund the project gets taken over by the FDIC, got to love Dodd Frank and “too small to survive” theory. You might think I’m just kidding, but I’m not go try to run a business in this country and see what you’ll be up against. Many of our rules and regulations have everything to do with environmentalism, socialism, and that agenda against free-market capitalists.
Still, when it comes to austerity it doesn’t seem that the socialists want to cut back and live within their means. Rather they would just like to tax everyone in “until they run out of other people’s money to spend,” which of course is a famous quote I borrowed from Margaret Thatcher. In that same issue of Foreign Affairs Magazine, there was an article titled “Stimulus or Reform – Charting a Path out of Recession – No Time for Austerity,” by Mezie D. Chin.
Of course, even though Barack Obama had spent over $5 trillion over the federal government’s tax revenues over the last four years it was suggested in The American Prospect Magazine in September-October 2012 that the Obama administration should have used more stimulus money but chickened out. Can you imagine what the federal budget deficit would be if we had been allowed to spend even more? The reality is that they wasted the money – funding huge alternative energy projects that happened to be run in 50% of the cases by their crony capitalist friends and campaign contributors, as Mitt Romney noted in the debate and the “fact-checkers” didn’t challenge – why? It’s the truth.
The way I see it, that is basically using the taxpayers money for paying back there political contributors to ensure that those same campaign donors would continue to give them money in their next round for re-election in 2012, which is where we are right now. If you disagree, all you have to do is look at the campaign donation records, and all the names of the executives, and investors behind those projects. It’s all there in black and white – or call in with proof otherwise when we open the phone lines.
Still, the socialist say we need to give more money to the poor, but now we are giving money to the middle class, or what used to be in the middle class, as we have 47 billion people on food stamps now. Meanwhile the same folks want the US taxpayer to give more money in foreign aid to help in the war on poverty.
Okay, sure let’s talk about poverty for a moment, since I brought it up. You see, there was an interesting article titled “The Other War On Poverty” by Leon R Kass in International Affairs Magazine, Number 12 – Summer 2012. Now then, I have to ask, having written a couple of e-books on some of the poorest people in the very poorest nations either living in rule poor areas or in urban slums that often the war on poverty causes more poverty, what’s happening in this regard. Poverty is increasing in the US remember?
Indeed, this shouldn’t surprise us because the war on terrorism seems to have caused a greater ability of the terrorists to recruit more, therefore there is more terrorism. And the war on drugs seems to have increased the cost of drugs, crime, and violence. There are more people on drugs, and more money flow because of it. When it comes to our foreign policy – well, maybe the entire concept of “winning their hearts and minds” isn’t working, and that familiarity is merely bringing more contempt, further, it should be noted that the law of unintended consequences seems to live within these socialist strategies, as if it is a cancer on humanity as we teach more folks to take a fish rather than to learn how to fish and remain self-reliant, now everyone is becoming weak, and they cannot stop wanting more – so which problem have they solved lately – none, certainly none using those silly socialist strategies – I’d say, perhaps you might opine? What say you, my faithful listener and article reader?
Further, it seems that we are stifling free enterprise, and free-market capitalism at every turn through overregulation. We are driving businesses away from our shores due to these increased rules and regulations, union demands, and over lawyering. It’s getting very difficult to build anything in this country (even hamburgers, as I mentioned) and still compete on the global market, we’ve increased our wholesale prices due to regulation and taxes on just about everything from the fuel that our corporations use in delivery to the raw materials they need to make the basic products.
In National Affairs Magazine, Summer 2012 there was an article by Christopher DeMuth titled; “The Regulatory State,” where he simply stated a known truism to anyone in the DC Metro area; “Washington is on a regulatory growth spurt. Hundreds of rulemaking proceedings underway or pending,” and he cited; Dodd Frank, Obama Care, the EPA, and the FCC. I ask what about the FAA, FTC, DHS, and FDA just to name a few more?
Still, another author of an essay in The American Prospect Magazine, September-October 2012 issue wrote an article titled; “What If Labor Dies, What’s Next? By Harold Meyerson. Well I’ll tell you what would happen, it would be wonderful because the American taxpayer would not be put on the hook to bail out the underfunded pensions, the American consumer would not have to pay too much for all the products they buy, and we wouldn’t have some people getting Cadillac healthcare benefits driving up the cost of healthcare for everyone else which has increased 8% per year. We wouldn’t have as many protests, work slowdowns, folks trying to sneak out early and get disability benefits. And we wouldn’t have giant voting blocs lobbying politicians and electing more socialist thinking leaders into our legislator or executive branch in our states or in our federal government. It actually could be wonderful for our country.
Now then, I ask where is all this socialist type thinking coming from anyway. Well, much of it is coming from the intellectual elite of academia. Of course I don’t see them as anymore intellectual as anyone else and remember I run a think tank so I am not just spouting hyperbole here, as a matter fact I see that they are missing some space on their resume because they’ve never run a business in their life, so they don’t understand economics or how the world works. Some of them actually assume that government is the creator of jobs and the economy. It’s not, despite what our President has mentioned previously in speeches that inadvertently hurt my feelings and the feelings of small business entrepreneurs around this great nation.
It’s not supposed to be that way, especially in the United States where we have a private central bank. Of course, under threat from the legislature and executive branch, they seem to be bending too much to political pressure, and they keep loaning the federal government money that our government cannot pay back with its current economic strategies, or won’t pay back one day, meaning they will default.
Just the other day, I was at one of the big box bookstores sitting in the coffee shop and I talked to a nice lady who was getting her teacher credentials so she can teach at the college level; history and anthropology. Part of her certificate required her to take a prerequisite class on economics. She thought that was unfair, she thought economics was too hard, and she was upset that she even had to study it. However, if you look at history, various socioeconomic strategies have either succeeded, or failed and caused entire civilizations to collapse. And I’m just not talking about Amsterdam moving forward, or the challenges in Europe with the textile industry produced in India, or the changes in trade with the great Silk Roads.
We can go all the way back to the coins which were often cut into pieces because they were traded by weight not necessarily by what was on the coin, some of which they found in Norway recently dating extremely far back, more than a thousand years. It seems unfortunate that a history teacher at the college and university level feels that learning economics isn’t an important foundational basis for her studies. But indeed, isn’t that really the problem were looking at here?
We have students graduating from high school who may never go to college who cannot balance a checkbook, who never took an economics class, but they still vote. If a politician stands up the podium and says; “you can get free stuff for the rest of your life, and the government will pay for it, just vote for me,” then they will, and they have, and it’s still going on in this current election, and you think people would know better after looking at the dismal economic performance and failure an economic recovery from the Obama Administration. Am I showing my political colors here? Perhaps so, but if you listen to this radio show long or read my articles enough you know exactly what I’m talking about, but you are one or the informed ones, an informed voter, what about all these other folks? They are voting too you know.
Personally, I have seen the future, but Obama’s vision of it doesn’t exist in that future, it can’t. Because if the United States of America is to have a future at all, it cannot be a socialist one, or this whole thing is going to come down like a crashing house of cards being run over by a cement truck, laden with all that dead weight, debris, and debt. Well, I guess that’s my opinion, and I thought it was rather great when Mitt Romney stated at the end of the third debate during this political season; “The Obama Administration’s policies have failed, this is the United States of America and we don’t have to live like this,” and then offered up his five-point plan one more time. I guess I’m with him and those words, and as you know we like to get a little opinionated on this radio show and with the articles I write.
So here we are once again at the end of 30 minutes of me talking, and you listening, and now it’s your turn to sound off I will now open the phone lines, or if you are reading the transcript online post a comment or two, or shoot me an electronic mail message.
Remember the rules; bring your mind, engage in intellectual dialogue, and maybe we can do better than these tit-for-tat cat fights in these presidential election debates we’ve been listening to? That’s the goal here today. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it, and you can start dialing that phone now, or posting a comment below if you are reading this online.

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