Closing Thought–28Mar18

Let the debate begin!

I read an op-ed today that fits with a debate that we have been having here on IST and thought I would let it continue……

I thought I would enclose this post as my “Closing Thought” because more people seem to go here and not the body of the day.

An ex-Supreme Court justice appointed by Gerald Ford has offerd up his opinion on the gun debate (not gonna make too many happy)…..

Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday. These demonstrations demand our respect. They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.

That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.

With that call then ask how hard would it be to repeal the second?

Repealing the amendment, Stevens said, would effectively overturn the controversial 2008 Supreme Court ruling D.C. v. Heller, which found that the Second Amendment protected “an individual right to possess a firearm” for the purpose of self-defense.

Because I like being fair to all sides of a debate I want to include another op-ed that disagrees with Stevens………(written several years ago…..)

THE TRAGEDY at Virginia Tech may tell us something about how a young man could be driven to commit terrible actions, but it does not teach us very much about gun control.

So far, not many prominent Americans have tried to use the college rampage as an argument for gun control. One reason is that we are in the midst of a presidential race in which leading Democratic candidates are aware that endorsing gun control can cost them votes.

This concern has not prevented the New York Times from editorializing in favor of “stronger controls over the lethal weapons that cause such wasteful carnage.” Nor has it stopped the European press from beating up on us unmercifully.

One more op-ed for you to consider……

FOR more than 80 years, the United States has enforced a tough and effective gun control law that most Americans have never heard of. It’s a 1934 measure called the National Firearms Act, and it stands as a stark rebuke to the most sacred precepts of the gun lobby and provides a model we should build on.

Leaders of the National Rifle Association rarely talk about the firearms act, and that’s probably because it imposes precisely the kinds of practical — and constitutional — limits on gun ownership, such as registration and background checks, that the N.R.A. regularly insists will lead to the demise of the Second Amendment.

In CLOSING:  I am NOT advocating the repealing of the 2nd….I enjoy a spirited debate and included below in case you want to voice your opinion then I suggest you check out this site…..

Time to go and see what the rest of the internet is  up to today…..TTFN…..chuq

The Saffron Curtain

It is time for the old professor to throw some history in your direction….you may fall asleep if you like but your grade will reflect the nap…..

During the Cold War many techniques were used by the US to counter the expansion of communism around the world…..psyops was one of these tactics….we even went so far as to try and weaponize religion….

Of the world’s major faiths, Buddhism is often characterized as being a religion of peace, tolerance, and compassion. The Western encounter with Buddhism has largely been distilled through yoga, the beatniks, Hollywood, and Dalai Lama quotes shared on Facebook. But even a cursory glance at the news that emanates from the Buddhist world reveals a more sanguinary state of affairs.

In Myanmar, ultra-nationalist monks have fueled a genocidal crusade against the country’s Rohingya Muslim population. In Thailand, the government has responded to a long-running Malay Muslim insurgency in its southern provinces by fostering a Buddhist militarism, encouraging monks in local temples to ally with the armed forces. And in Sri Lanka, the Buddhist-majority Sinhalese were engaged in a bitter civil war against the Hindu-minority Tamils for decades. More recently, Buddhist nationalists there have stoked anti-Muslim riots.

Some of the policies that resulted in violence have not subsided with the death of the USSR…..lingering hatred has endured.

“Deal Of The Century”

I am a foreign policy wonk.  My life after my military service has been dedicated to international relations bot in government and academia and thus after retirement I have found blogging……after 12 years now and counting.  I worked for 3 years in the Middle East and North Africa so write about what little expertise I have……

During Pres. Trump’s campaign he talked about the Middle East and it would be the “Deal of the Century”…..I was not sure what he meant….was there going to be a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine….or smething else completely?

I then read an article in The American Conservative…….

Donald Trump’s promise of “a deal of the century” to end the conflict between Israel and the Arabs is getting legs. After a year of discussions led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, the main elements of the president’s design are coming into view. But it’s not exactly what the Palestinians want to see.

It would be an exaggeration to call the ideas and suggestions raised by Trump’s intimates a bona fide plan. In the first case, the assembly of government experts and intimates thinking about the issue this past year have yet to demonstrate an ability to conceptualize an agreed upon and coherent view of a successful diplomatic engagement worthy of the definition. And second, there is no evidence to suggest that the Trump team is capable of successfully translating such a plan, if it exists, into a successful diplomatic engagement.

Mr. Trump used the Saudis to deliver his “deal of the century” to the Palestinians….after the embassy decision it was not embraced at all……

Saudi officials delivered a copy of US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but he has refused to open the document or play any role in the process, Middle East Eye can reveal.

Details of Trump’s deal have not yet been officially released, but armed with the 35-page document from the Saudis, the Palestinian Authority already knows every single article in the proposed plan and say the Americans will “not find any Palestinian to accept such a deal”.

So any “deal” that was foreseen will not be happening……there needs to be a reversal of the Trump policies before any “Deal” has a chance of success and that is not in the wind these days.


The region that does not get much ink these days is the region around the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean….this region is now called “Indo-Pacific…….

This region needs more attention here in the US so I had to turn to the Australians……

Security dynamics are changing rapidly in the Indo-Pacific. The region is home not only to the world’s fastest-growing economies, but also to the fastest-increasing military expenditures and naval capabilities, the fiercest competition over natural resources, and the most dangerous strategic hot spots. One might even say that it holds the key to global security.

The increasing use of the term ‘Indo-Pacific’—which refers to all countries bordering the Indian and Pacific oceans—rather than ‘Asia–Pacific’, underscores the maritime dimension of today’s tensions. Asia’s oceans have increasingly become an arena of competition for resources and influence. It now seems likely that future regional crises will be triggered and/or settled at sea.

I would like to thank the Australians this was a good report…..hopefully someone in the new State Department is paying attention….but I kinda doubt it.