Welcome to 2003 Issues, Opinions and Essays
By Roy D. Follendore III
Last year many thousands of individuals came to this site and read my essays. I have been impressed with the feedback. Several people wrote to say how much they appreciated the articles. A few people who are in the know stated that I was absolutely correct. Others disagreed. One writer had low opinions of a "liberal" professor who "poisoned the minds" of others. While I regret that such readers feel that way, such people are often the ones that probably most need to read essays and opinions that are different from their own. Words are hardly worth writing if what you have to say achieves no acknowledged resistance.
(You can still find the 2002 issues and essays at the link above.)
At times during 2002, I was critical of Israel. Hopefully in 2003, this will not be the case. As an American whose government and citizens sponsor Israeli policies to the tune of many billions of dollars, I think all Americans have a vested interest in seeing that humanitarian and democratic solutions are reached within the middle east.
Just because I wrote critical essays about the conduct of Israel, does not mean that I could not have been just as critical of the Palestinians. There was a reason for my writing. The key to solving a crisis is power, and for better or worse, the coherent power exists in the people of Israel. One of the great problems in the middle east is not the lack of intelligent people, but rather the lack of good education to intelligent people. Many Muslim "schools and universities" only teach the Koran and children are essentially taught that the universe is the Koran. Poor children learn to read by memorizing the scriptures. The middle eastern culture has been neglected by the rest of the civilized world. Science, art, and poetry may have their deepest roots there, but those roots have long been malnourished. The clash of the old values and traditional ideals with new realities is what is fueling the hatred. The return to fundamentalism is an attempt to turn back the arms of time and live in a mystically superior time and place where order can be understood in the weight and feel of sand.
At times during 2002 I was also critical of the current American administration. Hopefully in 2003 this also will not be case. I am sure that President George W. Bush thinks of himself as a good man. As a former Governor of a state that has the consistently dubious honor of having the most executions of it's citizens, I can only believe that he must think that. Stamping out evil by hanging evil doers is a time honored tradition in Texas. I am willing to accept the idea that President Bush is a good man. But regardless of that black and white viewpoint on good and evil, I am afraid that history will not be kind to this President. We citizens have been dramatically affected by the incoherent policies of this administration.
Over the past year, President George W. Bush has proven himself to be an exceptionally strong willed man who likes to surround himself with members of the military industrial establishment. These are people who take care to stay close to exclusively advise him about everything from their singularly military perspectives. Former President Eisenhower, himself one of the greatest and most intelligent of Generals, warned the newly elected President Kennedy about depending too much on their kind. The Cuban missile crisis would have had a far different outcome if Kennedy had listened to his military commanders. That is the difference between Kennedy and Bush. Kennedy knew from personal experience what war was about, and he was able to recognize just how flawed the military mind can be in tense political circumstances. The military philosophy is undoubtedly important and it can be useful, but it is not by any means the proper view for peaceful, diplomatic, technical, cultural, civil or religious resolutions. After two years of hearing "the George W" way of doing things, and seeing the results, experts in these areas are deciding that "their" way should have been considered. The fact is that over the past two years the people of America have not been listened to. The American people are beginning to fully realize it.
Perhaps there is always a sore in every Presidency, and this is the festering sore in this administration's Presidency. Our President was recently showing signs that he feels he may be concerned that his unilateral control is threatened by public opinion. Hopefully, this year he will realize that his ability to be reelected is in jeopardy by that absolute tendency of his to make unilateral cowboy decisions. Where President Teddy Roosevelt endorsed the ideal of talking softly and carrying a big stick, President Bush endorsed the idea of talking loudly and bombing when and where he decides a threat exists. It is no wonder that our Canadian neighbors think that America has become a dangerous bully. The real down side to the doubt of reelection is the idea that this President may go to extremes to carry out his personal agenda. Hopefully, as the elections come closer to reality, the Presidents political party will begin to assume more rational responsibility.
The real question of the 2003 will be the world economy, not terrorism. The threat of terrorism has always existed and until 911 we have had enough internal integrity within our Government to silently and effectively deal with that threat to national security. The problem with world economics is the growth of China and the failure of the Japanese to adapt to global financial standards. The Japanese have always tended to have a closed culture and treat their business as a family matter and for that reason Japan is on the edge of insolvency. America and Europe have been propping up Japanese banks but as of yet, they have refused to change their financial practices. A war in the middle east may well send a financial shockwave over the planet. No one wants to invest when they might lose not only their potential for profits, but also their investment. Without investment, people will increasingly lose their jobs. Without jobs, there will be personal and business bankruptcies. This is a potential avalanche which our great grandchildren may be paying for when they are our age. This, rather than terrorism is the threat of our enemies. It is the message of the destruction of the World Trade Center on 911. Violence is just a means to an end, just as it was to our enemies in World War II. The difference is that instead of war having the power to bring the world out of a depression, it will have the power to induce a world depression. The countries who then emerge with the most wealth will be the new superpower. And that then is the true problem with being the only superpower.
There is no doubt that 2003 will have many surprises in store for all of us. Maybe some of the good ones will outweigh the bad. In science we are on the verge of tremendous tangible breakthroughs. It is about time for cultural fine arts and fashion to have a breakthrough too. Hip Hop, Goth, and Rap cultures really do need to go the way of disco. Perhaps, the latest generation will have the creative urge to get away from creepy repelling and revolting ideas and go after a little modern class. We need a vision of the future that is not dark and oppressive.
Be sure to check in here at N2K to regularly to see new essays. I have decided to consider opening my essay writings up a bit.
Roy D. Follendore III
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