Thursday, August 28, 2008

Defining nationality

Nationality means belonging to a country and being proud of it despite its shortcomings. It means having a sense of identity through it and contrasting it with other nationalities for tolerance and not bigotry.

Perhaps the most exposed to the question of defining their nationalities are the immigrants who keep their link to their country of origin although the country where they have settled treat them as full nationals. There are also those who have double nationality and find it a dilemma which side to take when there is a conflict between the countries whose nationality they held.

Deep down one defines one’s nationality through a region in the country one belongs to. It’s through it that one sees his true identity.

Nationality is necessary. Without it, people will have little to link them. It is through it that they adapt to values and try defend and live by them.

Should Russia be isolated?

It will be difficult for the West to isolate Russia considering its emerging economic and military influence. Its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states is a response to NATO expansion in its neighbouring states and to thwart Georgia’s attempt to become a new military base for NATO.

The West should contend with the fact that Russia is back on its feet after the end of the communism which left it look powerless in face of the US foreign policy in Europe by heading the NATO military intervention in ex-Yugoslavia and by invading Iraq.

Russia still has other cards to play against the West by standing by Iran and thwarting any further Security Council sanctions against it. It may also enhance its nuclear cooperation with it to reduce US influence in the Middle East.

The West should recognize Russia as a power. It’s not like other small states that can be easily crushed just through economic embargoes, leaving them to fight for their lives. Russia is a bear. Once out of its hibernation, it won’t hesitate to show its paws to those coming in its way.

Monday, August 25, 2008

China Olypmic Games and political aftermath

It was evident that the political issues in China that were widely publicised prior to to the Olympic Games melted as the games were proceeding. the majority of people following the games were interested in their countries’ participation.

China proved able to make the games a success. It came top of winning gold medals, ousting the USA as the first country to win gold medals. There were little reports of protests. Perhaps the world attention was towards the events in Georgia, raising the fear of kindling cold war between Russia and the West, especially NATO members.

The games were moments of glory for many countries and China provided the opportunity for them to show their best.

The Olympic Games were ironically a cover hiding the hot issues in China like the situation in Tibet and human rights. The glamour of the games charmed the majority. But as the games are now over, China still has to improve its image with the rest of the world as it has to improve the living standard of its citizens in terms of income and the exercise of their human rights.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cosmetic surgery, a body mutiliation?

Cosmetic surgery is becoming the vogue even in very conservative countries like Iran: .The most tempted to have a cosmetic surgery are women. Men don’t care if they have a big nose or a big mouth. For them resorting to it is more feminine than masculine, especially when it comes to facial surgery.

In the end what matters is not having a perfect look but a sense of self-esteem and confidence.
People who can’t afford a cosmetic surgery should learn to live with their look. What matters is to have a healthy body and not a good looking body that has to suffer because of ongoing surgeries just for the sake of a good look that can add nothing to one’s position in society or performance at work.

Friday, August 15, 2008

US projected future population distribution and political consequences

Historically there were worries among some Anglo –Saxon Protestants when Kennedy was the first Catholic US president. What can make the US different or the same in the future are the ideas held by the majority of its people. As long as the Americans hold to the constitution which guarantees the rights of everyone, there is little chance of national split because of a change in racial majority. The whites may stop being a majority in 2042, but this doesn’t mean the majority will drop the American values.

What is predicted is that the US won’t be the same in 2042 as in 33 years from now other countries will emerge as economically and politically more powerful, especially China and India. The Americans should learn to adjust from now on to the possibility that they can no longer be a superpower, but as a powerful nation with people from different parts of the world who can live in harmony among themselves and with the rest of the world.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Strength and weakness in international policy

The strength of a party doesn’t consist just in the means it has but in the successful tactics it can use. The US huge army in Iraq was disastrously faced by suicide attacks from the insurgents. Hamas despite its relatively primitive missiles is causing concern to Israel which has one of the most modern army in the world.

Wars as it seems aren’t the ultimate means to solve conflicts as they lead just to more disasters without radically solving standing issues. It’s better to engage in negotiations that can lead to enduring peaceful settlements. Using one’s strength to wipe out one’s enemy is a futile attempt, especially if the enemy has the means to resurrect and the problems just lay dormant before erupting with huge intensity.

Also, as long as there are divisions between (strong) nations, factions/ militias will be used to start new conflicts. The skirmishes and wars in southern Lebanon between Israel and Hezbullah were just proxy wars to avoid direct confrontations between Syria and Israel.
In the case of Georgia, Russia is sending a signal to the USA in case it seeks to include it in NATO. So the situation in Georgia is a test for Russia to confront US planned military expansion in the Caucasus region.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Has AIDS hijacked the world health agenda?

All the dangerous diseases should be tackled rigorously to ensure general health. AIDS gets such a large attention and funding because it is easier to transmit than some other contagious diseases. One AIDS carrier can transmit the disease to hundreds of promiscuous people through sexual relations.

In some countries in Africa ,like South Africa, there are millions of AIDS carriers, which should be seen as a time-bomb if this disease isn’t tackled seriously as it can lead to the wiping out of a very large portion of the population if kept unchecked and without publicity about its danger.
Malaria can be the cause of the natural atmosphere surrounding its victims.

For AIDS, it’s in most part man’s own doing either because of being ignorant or careless about it. Those who are suffering now from AIDS should get all the necessary treatment. For other illness like TB and malaria there should be more funds to tackle them. It’s not healthy to let one disease spread to tackle another one. When it comes to health, there is no choice but to tackle all diseases according to their dangers and not the funds allocated to them.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Should women stay at home?

It’s an ideal that women should stay at home to take care of their children, but this can’t be possible without a price as they are going to be denied the opportunities they can get through work.

Today it is becoming increasing rare for a woman in a developed country to be financially dependent on her husband. In developing countries, many male workers and civil servants who have a low income prefer to marry a working woman to cover financial needs.

The other changes concerning women is that a lot of them are now single mothers. It will be impossible for many of them to stay at home, as they need a job to take care of their children.
It’s up to women to choose which is best for them, to be full-time mothers or part-time workers to come to terms with the financial needs to raise a family.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Can discrimination be justified?

There is no excuse for discrimination for whatever reasons. People should be judged on their merits, not class, race or colour. Using criteria to exclude types of people from mixing with the rest is a form of segregation and tribalism.

There is a difference between creating a club in which conditions must be met for membership, provided they aren’t explicitly discriminatory in a manner that violates the law, and offering jobs or selling property which clearly excludes types of people because of their colour, race or religion.

People as groups or individuals have the right to be distinct by creating associations or clubs, but there is nothing right with basing it on illegal and universally unacceptable discrimination.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Have the Olympic Games made the world blind to human rights records in China

The Olympic Games should be seen as a sport event that transcends all forms of politics. It’s not public protests that can deter the Chinese authorities from pursuing their current human records that are subject to criticism from human rights organisations. The OG should be seen as a moment of celebrations that should be separated from political issues.

The Chinese government was sent loud messages about its policy in Tibet and other parts of China leading to the disruption of the Olympic torch in Europe and the USA, which forced the organisers to change its avenues, but this didn’t force the Chinese to change the avenues of their policies.

As such, the Olympic Games are an occasion to give worldwide publicity about unresolved issues, but the OG should be left within their spirit. The focus should be on clean competition without doping. If the OG succeed in instilling the spirit of fairness among the competitors and the spectators, this should be an achievement. Seeking to change the world thanks to a short- lived event amounts to utopia. To be realistic, let’s enjoy the OG, which are a special occasion for all qualified sportsmen. Let politics be tackled in a different avenue and time.

How impotent is the United Nations

The United Nations is just forum for debates while action is carried out by countries that can bypass its resolutions. It has just the power of recommendations and condemnations in face of complex problems as in the Middle East.

The UN has historically proven its inability to establish peace without the accord of the parties concerned. Its peacekeeping forces have been defied on many occasions as during 2006 summer war between Hezbullah and Israel.

What is needed is that nations within their borders and with their neighbours should live in peace without provocation. Currently, many unresolved conflicts are internal as it is the case in Sudan, Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast and DR Congo. The UN can do little to solve these conflicts if the parties concerned can’t find permanent solutions to the core of their problems.

However, the UN despite its failure to resolve long-standing problems in some areas like Darfur has had some success in other areas like East Timor. The world can be worse without it. If it can’t solve all political problems, at least, it limits their worsening at a larger scale.

The UN should reshape itself to have more credibility by cleaning its house and by having a more balanced Security Council. It should make its past scandals from child sexual abuse of its peacekeeping forces, fund embezzlement to arming militias. Among other things, the Security Council needs restructuring. Its current permanent members were the consequence of political powers that existed when it was founded more than 60 years ago. It’s unfair that emerging powerful countries like India remain excluded from its permanent membership.

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