This beautiful lion has little to do with Valentine’s Day. It is part of the Ishtar Gate “constructed in about 575 BCE by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II” in the area of present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq. (See Ishtar Gate, Wikipedia.) Ishtar was a goddess and Marduk the most powerful of two gods, he and Adad. Part of the gate was still standing in the early 1930s. It was taken to Germany and reconstructed. The Ishtar Gate had been put out of harm’s way before WW II, but it was bombed and reconstructed. Our lion is housed in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin and the Ishtar Gate is part of the UNESCOWorld Heritage. Many of the animals the gate features are housed in museums other than the Bergamon Museum.
The New Year’s celebrations started immediately after the barley harvest, at the time of the vernal equinox. his was the first day of the ancient month of Nisan, equivalent to today’s date of March 20 or 21.
Roman poet Ovid wrote a Metamorphoses in 8 CE (Common Era). Apuleius (2nd century CE) wrote The Golden Ass, first entitled Metamorphoses. The Golden Ass contains The Tale of Psyche and Cupid, but its main narrative is the account of Lucius’ transformation into an Ass, rather than a bird. The Tale of Psyche and Cupid would be associated to the lore of Valentine’s Day, as would Rabbie Burns’ Red, Red Rose.
Once per year, the Ishtar Gate and connecting Processional Way were used for a New Year’s procession, which was part of a religious festival celebrating the beginning of the agricultural year. In Babylon, the rituals surrounding this holiday lasted twelve days. The New Year’s celebrations started immediately after the barley harvest, at the time of the vernal equinox. This was the first day of the ancient month of Nisan, equivalent to today’s date of March 20 or 21.
Christians associate Easter with the vernal equinox, but the vernal equinox happens globally. In Babylon, it was the New Year and inspired a procession among other celebrations of the agricultural year. But the governing factor concerning the date on which the procession would take place was the degree of lightness and darkness, the vernal equinox, when the degree and light and darkness is nearly equal. The earth feeds man and men and women perpetuate themselves. The rosettes, the red, red roses, above and below the lion are fertility symbols.
I was attracted by the image of the lion, but the Ishtar Gate was “foreign” to me. Now, I cannot help marvelling at all that binds us, hence this surprise post, except that I have studied and taught animals in literature, la Renardie. We have Reynard the Fox, Le Roman de Renart, tricksters, but we also speak of love, the Roman de la Rose. We all need our little corner of the world, but we are nevertheless the world.
Leaving Algeria: the Harkis and the Shephardi Jews
In 1961, as the War of Independence was drawing to a close, Algerians were drowned in Paris. (See Massacre of 1961, Wikipedia.) Moreover, before the mass exodus to France, the French disarmed the Harkis and left them behind. Harkis, now called French Muslims of Algerian descent, had been loyal to France during the eight-year War of Independence. It is estimated that as many as 150,000 were massacred. Torture was used on both sides of this conflict, the French and the National Liberation Front (FLN), and it was deemed acceptable. Harkis had to flee and did so with the assistance of French officers acting “against orders.”
“About 91,000 managed to flee to France, some with help from their French officers acting against orders, and today they and their descendants form a significant part of the Algerian-French population.” (See Algerian War, Wikipedia.)
In 1962, Sephardi Jews also fled to France and some to Israel. They had identified with the French during colonial times (1830-1962). They were the descendants of Jews who had escaped the Spanish Inquisition and many spoke Spanish. (See Algerian War, Wikipedia.)
The cease-fire was declared on 18 March 1962 by Charles de Gaulle, at great risk to his life. He would not listen to his bodyguards. De Gaulle pronounced Algeria independent on 3 July 1962 and Independence Day is celebrated on 5 July. French settlers wanted to stay in Algeria and were bitterly disappointed when De Gaulle declared a cease-fire and set about freeing Algeria. For some settlers, it was betrayal.
After France left Algeria, the country contemplated socialism. Its first president was Ahmed ben Bella, who described himself as an Islamist of “mild and peace-loving flavour.” (See Ahmed ben Bella, Wikipedia.) The Sand War, fought in October 1963, occurred during ben Bella’s presidency. Morocco was claiming ownership of Algerian territory. Ben Bella grew into an autocrat and a thief. He was deposed by his friend and colleague Houari Boumédiène (FLN). Boumédiène was a popular leader, but he fell ill and died in 1978, at the age of 46. Houari Boumédiène also contemplated socialism and put into place measures reflecting the influence of socialism.
Algerians are not Arabs. They are descendants of Berbers who converted to Islam. As we have seen, initially, Algerians were not attracted to Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism. Consequently, when Algeria’s neighbours to the east started promoting intégrisme, Islamic fundamentalism, resistance to Islamism culminated in the Algerian Civil War (1991-2002).
Barbaric massacres occurred during the Civil War. Most followed the hijacking of Air France Flight 8969 (1994), to which I have referred in my last post (See Related Articles). It was an act of terror that found a tragic echo in the attacks of 9/11 in the United States. The terrorists’ intention was to blow up the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but France’s anti-terror unit, the Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN), killed the terrorists at Marseille.
In 1999, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, a member of the National Liberation Front (FLN), was elected president of Algeria. It could be that Islamic fundamentalism had lost its appeal, but given the wars waged in the Middle East during the 2000s, some fundamentalism could not be averted.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algeria’s President, has not been seen since January 2016, which has fuelled rumours that he is extremely ill.
To sum up, after Algeria gained its independence, its leaders identified with socialism. However, groups were progressively drawn into the fundamentalist Islamism that was rooting itself in neighbouring Arab countries of the Middle East. It was called Salafist “Islamic revivalism.” Algeria resisted Islamic fundamentalism, but it found supporters.
The driver of the death truck of the 2016 Nice attack, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was Tunisian. It has now been determined that the attack was planned over a year and that Mohamed Bouhlel had accomplices. He responded to calls to attack citizens of coalition countries fighting ISIL. Yet, he was not a suspect. (See 2016 Nice attack, Wikipedia.)
The Kouachi brothers (Charlie Hebdo shooting) were of Algerian descent and the two were radicalised in the Middle East. In other words, after France left Algeria, the Arabization of Algerians led to a degree of Islamic fundamentalism and at least two of the three major attacks on France have been perpetrated by descendants of the population of France’s Colonial Empire. ISIL, however, remains at the heart of terrorist attacks on France andEuropean cities. Last week, Munich was attacked. When will it end?
These are terrible days, but I doubt that radical Islamism will abate until it is rejected by Islam itself. Neither Islamic fundamentalism, nor autocratic leadership, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad‘s, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, can benefit the Middle East. Its citizens are walking out. It seems that Assad is ready to talk. (See Malta Today.)
President Obama is still the President of the United States and he is a man of peace, despite the strikes. The talks have to occur soon. Participants should be supplied with plenty of good food and drinks, sit at a round table, and put an end to this misery. Muslims are not migrating because they want to. They are migrating because they have to. This is self-destruction. Make Syria safe for Syrians, Iraq safe for Iraqis and free Saudi Raif Badawi. It is difficult to imagine why King Salman of Saudi Arabia fears an innocent blogger whose wife and children are living in my town. They are awaiting a beloved husband and father.
Reconciliation should happen soon, because members of the extreme Right could be voted into political office in mostly tolerant countries.
The Arab Spring was a call for greater democracy. It was energetic opposition to Islamic fundamentalism and Islamic radicalism, i.e. ISIL, by Muslims themselves. But Assad was led by his fear of losing power. If he acts as he should, the migrant crisis will end and he may save himself.
Apologies for a long absence due to migraines. Love to everyone.♥
Physician Preparing an Elixir, Folio from a Materia Medica of Dioscorides, an illustrated manuscript dated A.H. 621/ A.D. 1224, Iraq or Northern Jazira, possibly Baghdad, Islamic (Photo credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY)
President Obama visits King Salman of Saudi Arabia
President Obama was in Saudi Arabia, so many wondered if the President of the United States would attempt to save Raif Badawi.
King Salman’s Best Interest
King Salman has stated he would not change anything. Continuity is the word he used. During the first week he was in power there were four beheadings.
It may be in King Salman’s best interest to release Raif Badawi. There are a large number of Saudi liberals who could be radicalized if Raif Badawi’s sentence is not revoked. Rigidity on the part of the King could therefore lead to civil unrest.
But do absolute monarchs think in this manner and would Saudis revolt? We are dealing with human beings belonging to a different culture. Human nature is a universal, but cultures differ.
Louis XIV and Molière
I am of course remembering Louis XIV of France. Never was absolutism so absolute as in the days of the Sun King. I wrote my PhD thesis on 17th-century playwright Molière and discussed his somber plays. The Misanthrope (4 June 1666) and Dom Juan (15 February 1665) are chief examples. But so is Tartuffe (12 May 1664).
In the Misanthrope, Alceste criticizes the court and says he would like to live in a desert. Molière saves the situation by giving Alceste a friend, Philinte, who is more tolerant of the faults of others. However, he agrees with Alceste:
Philinte to Alceste
Non, je tombe d’accord de tout ce qu’il vous plaît : Tout marche par cabale et par pur intérêt ; Ce n’est que la ruse aujourd’hui qui l’emporte, Et les hommes devraient être faits d’autre sorte. Tous ces défauts humains nous donnent dans la vie Des moyens d’exercer notre philosophie…
(Le Misanthrope, V.i)
“No, I agree with you in all that you say. Everything goes by intrigue, and by pure influence. It is only trickery which carries the day in our time, and men ought to act differently. But is their want of equity a reason for wishing to withdraw from their society? All human failings give us, in life, the means of exercising our philosophy. It is the best employment for virtue; and if probity reigned everywhere, if all hearts were candid, just, and tractable, most of our virtues would be useless to us, inasmuch as their functions are to bear, without annoyance, the injustice of others in our good cause; and just in the same way as a heart full of virtue.” (See The Misanthrope online)
One cannot survive absolutism if one doesn’t learn to bend a little. In fact, one cannot survive without bending a little. Interestingly, Alceste is in love with Célimène who is the embodiment of what he loathes, which suggests a certain ambivalence on his part.
In Dom Juan (15 February 1665), no one can stop Dom Juan from being a conqueror. His conquests are the women he seduces. It has been suggested that Dom Juan is a Casanova. However, he is driven not by his sexual appetite, but by his need to conquer. He is cataloguing his “conquests.” No one can change him. His wife and his father appeal to him, to no avail. At one point, Dom Juan decides to hide behind the mask of feigned devotion, the perfect mask. However, heaven itself kills him: thunder, kills him.
In Tartuffe (12 May 1664), Tartuffe himself feigns devotion. Orgon, the pater familias who has adopted him, enjoys the fact that so pious an individual can turn every sin into a virtuous deed. (See Casuistry, RELATED ARTICLES). So he gives Tartuffe a box, a cassette, that contains evidence that Orgon was not always a loyal subject of the monarchs.
The play is particularly revealing. The characters manage to show Orgon, the heavy father, that Tartuffe wants to seduce his wife. They convince Orgon to hide under a table behind a table-cloth, so he can see for himself that his “saint” is flesh and blood, but it’s too late. Tartuffe has the incriminating cassette and owns Orgon’s possessions. The king, who sees all, sends an exempt to Orgon house. Orgon believes he is being arrested, but such is not the case. The king knows that Tartuffe has committed crimes. The exempt has come to arrest Tartuffe, not Orgon.
A “deus ex machina”
Therefore, a deus ex machina saves Orgon and his family. The powerlessness of Orgon’s family indicates that one can lose all.
Such is life under a despotic monarch. The King sees… A deus ex machina intervenes when a situation is desperate. A deus ex machina is a machine. When all else fails, God intervenes. Only the King can rescue Orgon and his family.
Tartuffe, or The Impostor, or The Hypocrite, premièred on 12 May 1664, as part of a celebration probably inaugurating Versailles: Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée (FR). One can assume that the feast, which lasted from 7 to 13 May 1664, was an attempt to outshine Fouquet’s inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, an event that took place on 17 August 1661. Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée was a lavish feast, but it could not match the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte.
After the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, Jean de La Fontaine wrote his “Élégies auxnymphes de Vaux” (FR) a poem in which he praised Fouquet and expressed hope that Louis XIV would be compassionate towards a patron of the arts. Fouquet owned Vaux-le-Vicomte, a castle more beautiful than the King’s Louvre, formerly the main residence of the Kings of France.
Given Fouquet’s imprisonment, Jean de La Fontaine chose prudence. He made animals and vegetation speak and he used old fables, Æsop‘s, who lived in Greece but was born a “Levantin.” Æsop’s fables date back to the Indian Panchatantra, retold in Arabic by Persian scholar Abdullah Ibn al-Muqaffa(750 CE) and given the title Kalīlah wa Dimnah.La Fontaine’s eloquence is a mute eloquence, une éloquence muette. His characters are mostly animals and vegetation. This is the manner in which he could tell the truth. Absolute monarchs will not admit to seeing themselves in a lion. As I have written elsewhere, the lion is king, but the King is not a lion.
Therefore criticism of the King was worded in a dire-sans-dire, (to say without saying). Writers had to write in an “oblique” fashion, as did La Fontaine, Molière, and scholars of the French Enlightenment. The word “oblique” had been used by Michel de Montaigne (28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592).
(There is consistency to my fantasies, but at times from afar, and they look at one another, but in an oblique fashion. [my translation])
Note the use of the word fantaisies. That is an example of obliqueness in that Montaigne demotes himself. Montaigne’s obliqueness characterizes the writings of La Fontaine, Molière, Pascal (Lettres provinciales [1656 – 1657]), and the works of major figures of the French Enlightenment, not the least of whom was Voltaire (né François-Marie Arouet). Voltaire had found himself “embastillé” (thrown into the Bastille prison),for his attempts to promote tolerance.
Young Man holding a Skull, Frans Hals (Vanitas) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In short, the King’s confessors, Bossuet in particular, were the only persons who could influence Louis. They preached that there was a God, the real God, above the King. So the divine rights of kings were not divine, as kings were mortals. They reminded the king that he would die: memento mori and that all was vanity: vanitas vanitatum. This argument did inspire restraint on the part of Louis XIV, but does King Salman have a confessor, a Bossuet (27 September 1627 – 12 April 1704), whose eloquence is unmatched?
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (R) at Erga Palace in Riyadh, January 27, 2015. Obama is stopping in Saudi Arabia on his way back to Washington from India to pay his condolences over the death of King Abdullah and to hold bilateral meetings with King Salman. (Photo credit: Reuters)
Let us return to President Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia. Could President Obama speak about Raif Badawi?
I doubt it. King Abdullah had just died and the President went to meet the new king, King Salman. He had business to discuss with King Salman whose country is a member of the coalition fighting IS.
Had President Obama intervened, he may have been perceived as meddling. One cannot walk into someone else’s house, rearrange the furniture and settle in.
However, President Obama has now met King Salman. He travelled to his country. He was well received and the two leaders talked. The above photograph may be our best reassurance. Both leaders seem relaxed and in a jovial mood. So there may be a better future.
Let us hope Mr Badawi soon joins his family in Canada. The international community is pleading for his release. Nobel Prize laureates and scholars have asked for clemency. Kind-hearted people are ready to be flogged a hundred times each so Mr Badawi is spared further flagellation. Amnesty International is collecting names and funds.
Finally, we, in Canada, are waiting for Mr Badawi, but we cannot release him. That is for the Saudis to decide.
It has to end
Jihadi John is still beheading innocent people. There are constant beheadings, and Syrians have to leave their country.
In fact, President Obama is now being threatened, which was to be expected.
Michel de Montaigne, Essais, Gutenberg [eBook #3600] (EN)
 Molière wrote: “Toutes les peintures ridicules qu’on expose sur les théâtres doivent être regardées sans chagrin de tout le monde. Ce sont miroirs publics, où il ne faut jamais témoigner qu’on se voie ; et c’est se taxer hautement d’un défaut, que se scandaliser qu’on le reprenne.” (La Critique de L’École des femmes, sc. VI.)
(Depictions that ridicule people on stage should not cause grief to anyone. These are public mirrors and people should never show that they see a reflection of themselves; they would be owning up to a fault in the utmost, if it should offend them to see it ridiculed. [my translation and rewording])
Mr Romney made it perfectly clear that, under his presidency, the United States would stand behind Israel. One cannot object to his standing behind Israel, but can he play favorites, thereby alienating the Arab world? If Mr Romney plays favorites or takes sides, the United States will remain an enemy in the eyes of other countries in the Near and Middle East. As a result, he would not be protecting but endangering Israel.
Moreover, by taking sides, he would endanger the United States. The events of 9/11 and the disastrous wars fought in the wake of these attacks dictate prudence in the Middle East. There are countries in the Arab world that harbor considerable ill feelings against the United States.
Mr Romney also stated that “[w]e need to indict Ahmadinejad.” In what capacity could the President of the United States do this? Ahmadinejad is not an American citizen and Iran is a sovereign nation. Indicting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would have to be done using the proper international channels. The President of the United States does not rule the world.
China: Mr Romney
Mr Romney’s comments on China were also alarming.
“That’s why on day one, I will label them a currency manipulator, which allows us to apply tariffs where they’re taking jobs. They’re stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods.” (Mitt Romney)
The United States borrowed a great deal of money from China and may need to borrow more. If Mr Romney and other very wealthy Americans will not pay their fair share of taxes, if they deposit their money in offshore accounts, if they continue to expect tax cuts, if they export too large a number of jobs to China and other countries, thereby taking jobs away from Americans and, by the same token, depriving the US of tax-payers, how will the debt be repaid? Mr Romney may have to learn Chinese.
In short, Mr Romney is fomenting dissent in the Middle East and inviting retaliatory action from China. His behaviour suggests that he would be a reckless President and that as President of the United States, he would not give sufficient attention to domestic issues. He would in fact bully the world: sanctions here, sanctions there.
The Middle East: President Obama
“[O]ur security is at stake.” (President Obama)
Contrary to Mr Romney, President Obama’s main concern is for the safety of his people. For instance, he stated that:
his administration is “going to continue to keep the pressure on to make sure that they [Iran] do not get a nuclear weapon. That’s in America’s national interest and that will be the case so long as I’m president.”
President Obama is right. It is in America’s national interest to make sure than Iran and other countries do not get nuclear weapons. This matter is, in fact, a global issue and should be addressed as such.
President Obama also stated that “[t]hey [Egypt] have to abide by their treaty with Israel. That is a red line for us, because not only is Israel’s security at stake, but our security is at stake if that unravels.”
According to Mr Romney, the US “should be playing the leadership role there[Libya]” not on the ground with military[,]” a statement to which President Obama’s response was that they (the US) “are playing the leadership role.”
America remains the one indispensable nation. And the world needs a strong America, and it is stronger now than when I came into office.
English: President Obama had called on the two former Presidents to help. During their public remarks in the Rose Garden, President Clinton had said about President Bush, ‘I’ve already figured out how I can get him to do some things that he didn’t sign on for.’ Later, back in the Oval, President Bush is jokingly asking President Clinton what were those things he had in mind. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yes the United States “remains the one indispensable nation,” but a nation where a social contract, albeit tacit, dictates that its president’s main concern be the “safety” of his nation. That notion has to inform a president’s actions and any candidate to the presidency of the United States who expresses views that stray from this tenet does not seem a suitable candidate.
So the United States now knows that if it elects Mr Romney, it may well elect a warmonger who is indeed prepared to barge into other countries thoughtlessly and will revive the image of the “ugly American:” a “pejorative term used to refer to perceptions of loud, arrogant, demeaning, thoughtless and ethnocentric behavior of American citizens mainly abroad, but also at home.Although the term is usually associated with or applied to travelers and tourists, it also applies to US corporate businesses in the international arena.” (Ugly American, Wikipedia)
After four years of careful negotiations with the Middle East and a rapprochement, America might again be sending soldiers into battle, young Americans who will lose their life or whose life may be ruined.
* * *
What comes to my mind is that picture of President elect Obama entering the White House surrounded by former presidents. The US suffered under the former president’s administration, but President Bush was President of the United States and he was President on 9/11, a calamity that can lead and led to injudicious decisions. But President Obama treated President Bush in a kind and courteous manner as he did all former presidents. The “five presidents” was a moment of mutual respect that brought me hope, and hope is the road that takes us into the future.
Famous posthumous portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As I reported in my last blog, Mitt Romney seems to have entered into some alliance with Israel, which is dangerous. For the Arab World, Israel is an American presence in the Near and Middle East. As a result, hatred for the US is immense. Therefore, the US cannot take sides. It has to work with the support of the world in order to eliminate nuclear threat everywhere. This would protect Israel.
The Second Debate
With respect to the second debate (16 October 2012), I have written that Mitt Romney acted in a Machiavellian fashion. This approach is a “do-anything-to-become-President-of-the-United States.” The end justifies the means.
Some people have not had the opportunity to read Machiavelli. I will therefore introduce a word everyone will understand: bullying. It appears Mitt Romney is a bully and bullies can break people. I have discovered that others consider Mr Romney a bully. I’m not alone.
I will have to do a little digging on this issue, but I recall a statement on the part of Mr Romney to the effect that his ethnicity would give him an edge over President Obama. It had to do with Mr Romney’s ability to understand people better, white people I believe. This is a statement he made in the UK.
Combined with voter suppression, this statement leads me to believe that Mr Romney hasn’t much use for persons of color. In fact, even if my memory does not serve me well regarding the UK remark, voter suppression alone would indicate that Mitt Romney does not respect persons of colour sufficiently to be elected into the office of President of the United States. At any rate, his poor opinion of persons of colour would make it easier for him to bully President Obama.
Interrupting the debate
If the next debate turns into a quarrel, as moderator of that debate, I would end it.
For the last couple of weeks, the Israeli prime minister has been the featured player in a Republican-sponsored TV ad playing in Florida. It shows excerpts from Netanyahu’s United Nations speech last month in which he tacitly attacks President Obama for his failure to set a clear red line for Iran’s nuclear program.
“The world tells Israel: ‘Wait, there’s still time,’” he says. “And I say, wait for what? Wait until when?”
No, Netanyahu didn’t plan or buy the campaign ad. Secure America Now, a group run by longtime Republican strategists, put it up. But Florida is filled with Israeli emigres and American Jews. There’s no question that Netanyahu knows all about the ad and has made no effort to criticize or blunt it. An anonymous Israeli official did tell the news media that the prime minister’s office had nothing to do with the ad and did not approve of it. That’s all.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu called for early elections to take place early next year. How would he like it if an opponent began airing TV ads that showed Obama openly criticizing him? And then, when asked about it, an anonymous White House aide managed to say something banal, like: “Oh, we didn’t authorize that.”
If Netanyahu has no interest in taking sides in the American presidential election, then he should issue a strong statement or hold a press conference to declare that he does not support the use of his U.N. remarks in a partisan campaign ad.
But he didn’t say a word. Not one. And the reason is clear: He does not like Obama, and Obama doesn’t like him. Remember the Group of 20 summit in France late last year, when Obama was overheard chatting with Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president? Neither knew the mike was open.
“Netanyahu, I can’t stand him,” Sarkozy leaned over and told Obama. “He’s a liar.”
Obama responded, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.
“Mr. Romney has repeatedly criticized the president as showing weakness on Iran and failing to stand firmly with Israel against the Iranian nuclear threat.”
I suggested that the above statement be rephrased: “The world must stand firmly in opposing nuclear threat.” In fact, the original statement (NY Times) is not altogether accurate. The United States is opposing nuclear threat, but it cannot create the impression that Israel is an American presence in the midst of the Arab world. (See The Ottawa Citizen).
How does Mr Romney expect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will react? Moreover, in what capacity did Mr Romney talk with Mr Netanyahu. Mr Romney is not the President of the United States. This seems an “I’ll-stoop-to-anything-to-get-votes” scenario, the Machiavellian scenario.
The Diplomatic Way
It would be my opinion that the diplomatic way of dealing with factions in the Middle East is not to take sides. Under the Bush (R) administration, the US waged two disastrous wars in the Middle East. That was a mistake, but the 9/11 attacks were destabilizing. President Bush found himself in a real dilemma. However, the time has come for the United States to mend fences, which the US has done from the time Mr Obama was elected to the presidency of his country and Hillary Clinton accepted to be his Secretary of State.
Mr Romney adopted a Machiavellian approach during the last debate, the debate that took place on October 16th, acting rather dishonorably. But given that he may have entered into some alliance with Israel, I believe he may also be a threat to the United States.
composer: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (18 March 1844 – 21 June 1908)
piece: Scheherazade 3rd movement – The Young Prince & Princess
performers: Berliner Philharmoniker & Michel Schwalbé
conductor: Herbert von Karajan
I would like to congratulate President Obama and, particularly, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for putting the US back on the map as a country deserving admiration. The current rapprochement between the US and countries located in the Middle East bodes well for the future. Back in 2008, I did not think so much progress could be made in so little time.
Unfortunately, there are problems within the United States, problems I deplore because they amount to plain and rather ugly obstructionism. Tea Party members and hardline Republicans seem to be saying no for the sake of saying no, not taking into consideration the needs of the nation.
Can they not see that people need jobs and that in order to create jobs one has to invest. Investing and spending are two different entities. Put America to work. Do not force people to wait nervously for the next and insufficient unemployment cheque to come. Not only do people have to put food on the table, but they must also educate their children and feel that they are fully-fledged citizens of a country they love.
And do not let selfish politicians impede action on the part of the administration only to turn around and blame the current administration for not doing what they, selfish politicians, have prevented the administration from doing. Sabotage is no way of conducting a campaign. Could it be that they have no other recourse?
Under Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, the nobility did not pay taxes. The poor did. I need not mention the consequences.