Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Are you a Pantheist?

Are you a pantheist?


The Fall of Rome

Educate Yourself
*Robert Kaplan--minus intellectualism--equals FEAR

This man...Robert Kaplan...pulls no punches. He gives it to you straight as an arrow.
No moral ambiguity. He has apparently been able to put the sense of morality completely aside
when explaining the U.S. standing in the world. The frightening thing is, he is representing a bitter
It's what the President doen't tell you, but it's there...silent and sturdy...undereath every word he spins.
America as Empire.
America is Empire.

Robert Kaplan seems to forget something important here....we are still a democracy. American democracy is still breathing.
We, as citizens, have a right and responsibility to watch over the actions of our leader and call him on his lies.
He is not entitled to be Emperor.
We American citizens are responsible for the behavior of George W. Bush in ways that the people of Iraq were never responsible for Saddam Hussein. There is now good reason to believe that GW Bush, in his highly dishonest, personal, irrational, and thoroughly Manichaean campaign against
Hussein, has set the very world on a course toward disaster.

The frightening thing about Robert Kaplan is this:
He sets aside moral clarity to shore up what he considers to be the "necessary Empire"...only to serve a dystopian vision later on:
Robert Kaplan: "....I foresee a global system in a few decades that will very roughly resemble the Han Empire that emerged in China in around the second or third century BC. The Han Empire, which governed much of today's China, was not a dictatorship ruled from a central capital. In the beginning, at least, it represented a grand harmony of diverse peoples and systems that despite all their power struggles found out that it was in their self interest to limit their own power for the sake of the greater whole..."

I would suggest to Mr. Kaplan that he study history with a closer eye on the effects of power upon human nature.
When you start with "ugly", it only gets uglier.....

To his intellectual credit, Kaplan is a proponent of the emulation of 2nd-Century Rome..not that I share his opinion.
Kaplan's Machiavellian idea that armed prophets are the only prophets who truly succeed run counter to my thoughts on
the practice of non-violence. Peace will never be established through violence. Violence will be a cycle that never ends.
You need not be religious to understand the requisite role love plays in the attainment of peace.

When contemplating Rome and considering the direction of the leadership of George W. Bush, I am reminded of Constantine.

My mind turns to the emperor Constantine who, in 313, issued the Edict of Milan, and in my mind, set the stage for Rome's eventual fall.
I am reminded Of George W Bush in his "unifying" us through actions (such as the decision to preemptively strike Iraq) which he admits are "divine" interventions...his attempting to "unite" us in troubled times by giving us a prescribed axis of "evil" (knowing the Empire requires the political conquering of these countries)....and especially Bush's pandering to the Christian fundamentalists in this country.
Constantine, seeking complete political unification of the Roman Empire, set about bringing the religious and ethnic groups who lived under Roman rule into unification. He accomplished this by instilling in Roman citizens a common sense of brotherhood, namely by identifying common enemies of the state. He also claimed he was halting religious persecution, issuing the Edict of Milan. (While at the same time he was was preparing to stamp out religious diversity within Christianity..dividing....and hoping to conquer... through a new and united political "religion").

I see Bush's efforts to unite Americans against a common enemy, which he calls "terror"---a vague description which he is deliberately blurring and blanketing into Iraq, Iran, Syria, and most other unAmericanized desert lands---as glaringly similar to Constantine attempting to unite the divided Church against a common enemy "outside" Christendom (as per Nicea--which watered down true Christianity forever). Bush is a replay of Constantine's efforts to unify the divided Roman Empire by identifying and condemning its common "enemies".

You're either "with us" or "against us".

Long after Constantine helped to politicize what was once a beautiful and pure Christianity, many saw the violent and brutal Crusades as a morally sound effort...
or they simply set aside the moral ambiguity.

*This sounds like the ideological lovechild of Robert Kaplan's philosophy and George W Bush's actual leadership.

We are no better off than Rome in 395, when severe financial problems began to face the Empire.
Let us not forget what happened to Rome.

Study the fall of Rome.

Last, a quote from Robert Kaplan:

"Foreign policy, though, operates in a lawless realm. The kind of morality we apply overseas in dealing with our adversaries is a more limited, sadder morality than we apply at home. Realism also means that all moral questions of human rights, democracy, etc. are ultimately questions of power. Realism assumes that sometimes you have to perpetrate a certain amount of evil in order to do a greater amount of good. These are all aspects of realism in foreign affairs. I think the United States, right now, under President Bush, is what I would call a classically realist foreign policy."

For all his talk about the importance of the pagan warrior, Mr Kaplan certainly talks a blue streak about "good" and "evil".
I believe that Mr Kaplan, like many of us, is afraid, plain and simple.
He realizes capitalism is flawed, and populism is his sworn enemy...it scares him to death.
His "realism" stems from his subjective "reality"....and in his world, there is great fear and mistrust of his fellow man.
To Mr Kaplan, the world-at-large is scary and "evil".
Power is the panacea in his dystopian dreams.
This is the same fear that won the election for the GOP in 2002.
The same fear that has afforded Bush popularity in public polls.
The further we play into our fears, the sooner we will destroy ourselves from within.






ORB ENCYCLOPAEDIA: scroll down to: 'Early Medieval „ Antecedents': several useful essays on aspects of 'the Fall of Rome'

DE IMPERATORIBUS ROMANIS: lengthy, scholarly essays on each of the emperors, to 476 for the West and to 1453 for the East.

LACUS CURTIUS: contains an Atlas of the Roman world


Restoring the American Spirit

Restoring the American Spirit
—By Jay Walljasper, Utne magazine

I enjoyed this short piece in Utne Reader.
The small things we set our hearts to doing for the America we envision means everything.

Do something.

"How sadly ironic it would be if 9/11, a tragedy that pulled Americans together like nothing since World War II, provided cynical politicians an opportunity to stifle our deep instincts for trying to make things better...."

"..citizens are no longer motivated..... they no longer feel they can make a difference. That may be what’s at the heart of the Bush team’s political strategy: to shovel so much economic and political clout into the hands of corporate executives that the rest of us feel almost powerless to change anything in our country.

".....now that’s the American spirit: citizens growing aware of a problem and then rolling up their sleeves to do something about it. It’s what has always brought out the greatness in us, from 19th-century abolitionists to New York City firefighters. And I don’t believe that the Bush administration, no matter how brilliant its strategists are, will get away with quashing our deeply ingrained American optimism..."

Pakistan is a powderkeg


Pakistan is a powderkeg

Did you know that:

Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf warned, prior to his recent trip to Washington, of a possible "non-conventional nuclear war" in South Asia if the West continued to sell weapons to New Delhi while maintaining a patchy arms embargo on Islamabad? Did you know that Musharraf said that, in such circumstances, Pakistan would have no choice but to rely on its nuclear weapons?

Do you find it odd that:

Given the Bush administration's recent high profile public concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation in North Korea and Iran, President George W Bush did not press Pakistan regarding its nuclear weapons program?

Do you worry when you realize:

US officials are concerned that political turmoil in the Kashmir region increases the threat from both insiders and outsiders to nuclear facilities, material and weapons and fear that nuclear weapons and facilities could fall into the hands of terrorists or a hostile government?

Do you better understand the majority of the minds of the Pakistani people when, after hearing Musharraf say in a television interview that 'mainly Muslim Pakistan' must seriously take up the issue of recognizing Israel and avoid dealing with it on emotional grounds, they aver:

"Jerusalem is not just an Arab issue and is linked to the faith of every Muslim," maintained Qazi Hussain Ahmed, chief of Jamaat-i-Islami, a component party of the MMA (the six-party Pakistani religious alliance Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal). "Presenting Palestine as a sole Arab issue is a heinous conspiracy of the imperialists and colonists aimed at disintegrating the Muslims and shattering the concept of Muslim unity. It is for the same reason the colonist forces are trying to portray every Muslim issue as regional or bilateral," said Qazi, reiterating his support for the Palestinian intifada or uprising.

What do you think about the U.S. getting down in the bloody muck of once again negotiating with the Taliban (as we did in Pakistan this past month)?
Didn't we beat them down? Or have we been grossly misinformed?

Do you know things are getting worse in Afghanistan? That's A-F-G-H-A-N-I-S-T-A-N.......have you forgotten?

Are you aware that it's predicted that an ever-better-organized, equipped and trained resistance movement will intensify its guerrilla attacks,
especially in the rugged mountains and scorching heat of Jalalabad and Kandahar? That the ranks are being swelled by Chechen and Uzbek volunteers,
and some sources even say that suicide bombers are included in their ranks?? It has been said, by observers familiar with Afghan resistance
movements, that the resistance movement that has emerged since Taliban's fall is stronger than the movement that opposed Soviet
invaders for nearly a decade starting in 1979.

Do you know that the re-emergence of the Taliban movement suits some elements in Pakistan, who hanker after the days when Pakistan, through its support of the Taliban, wielded much influence in Afghanistan?

Do you think Pakistan is a virtual powderkeg?

I certainly do.

James Carville quote


James Carville on Mahdi from
Old Centrifuges Buried Under the Rosebushes

(From Transcript of Meet The Press June 29, 2003):

"....I suspect that they have a pretty good idea if they had some weapons or not. This unearthing that this guy had something buried in his back yard for 12 years, I swear, it looked like a carburetor some redneck would have in his garage, and they put this thing up and we’re going to get blown up by this? It was buried for 12 years. I mean, they may have—as Vice President Cheney said right here in this chair, they may have a reconstituted nuclear program, but we sure haven’t found anything close to it yet or a nuclear bomb..."