Profile: Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan

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Hamid Karzai

Meet President Hamid Karzai, the first elected president of the Islamic State of Afghanistan.  After 2014 his government will be responsible for protecting the country which thousands of Americans, Afghans, and international troops have died to sustain.  It is in debate if he is up to the task.

In order to answer this question we must analyze who Hamid Karzai is

Karzai was always going to be a politician.  He first made a name for himself in the ranks of the Mujahedeen, freedom fighters resisting the Russian annexation of Afghanistan.  He gained notoriety fundraising for the Mujahedeen in Pakistan and fame by leading negotiations uniting conflicting factions and directing mass defections of domestic opposition.  In 1992 he served as the Deputy Foreign Minister in the Afghanistan government.  The Taliban’s growing influence hedged him out of the country.  It was not until the 1999 assassination of his father, by the Taliban, that Karzai began his crusade to end the radical regime.  It was not until the events of September 11, 2001 that Karzai got his opportunity.

During Operation Enduring Freedom, the NATO invasion of Afghanistan in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Karzai fought with his tribe to bring a new government to Afghanistan.  He met stiff resistance from the Taliban, who were specifically targeted him to deny Afghanistan of one of his finest negotiators.  Friendly fire, from American missiles, hit his troops and seriously injured Karzai.  He became the chairman of the transitional government and was essential to the negotiations which brought about a unified government in Afghanistan.

2004 was the peak of Karzai’s career.  He was elected the President of Afghanistan with 55.4% of the vote.  Numerous obstructions marred his presidency and public opinion depreciated.  Systematic corruption eroded public faith in the government.  Isolated and accidental killings of civilians by Afghan and NATO forces turned distrust into anger.   The Taliban was still at large in the southeastern parts of Afghanistan.  Illegal poppy fields remained the cash crop for the insurgency and the Afghan government could not cull the fields.  Karzai fiercely insisted to not use chemical herbicides against the poppy growers, due to fears of a much more volatile civil war, have stifled progress against the drugs.  IED’s, suicide bombers, and ambushes have only spread anger and dissention.

In  2009 Karzai won the reelection with only with just over fifty percent of the popular vote.  Accusations of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation, and a key opponent mysteriously dropping out just before the runoff election have left Karzai’s government under heavy suspicion.  It took over a year for him to place all of his advisors because the Afghan Parliament rejected many due to the candidate’s ties with warlords and inability to perform.

Criticisms are multiplying.  International activists have denounced his administration as one of the most corrupt in the world.  Millions of dollars of international aid have simply disappeared.  Widespread desertion is common in the Afghan military and discipline in the ranks is nonexistence.  Deserters often turn up in the ranks of the Taliban.

Karzai will be the President of Afghanistan until 2014, at which time international forces will complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan.  It is my opinion that Karzai is not up to challenge.  He has failed to rejuvenates a country which desperately needs strong leadership.  He is probably one of the best men in Afghanistan to mediate fair negotiations.  However, that is not the role of the President:  presidents must act, and Karzai does not seem to be reforming in a hurry.

Source: BBC, New York TimesBiography.com, Wikipedia

Above the Law (Of One Child Policy)

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Pink Face Tibetan Girl

Cute Enough to Risk a Second?

At the heart of every blockbuster rests a simple question: how far would you go to save a loved one?

In China, the distances are further from here to a galaxy far, far away and the trials exceed Rocky’s worst nightmares.

Having a second child in China is not just heavily frowned upon, it is against the law.  The government is ruthless and despicable in its dark crusade against the unborn: in some regions of China infanticide is commonplace, two-child mothers are forcibly sterilized, and corpses of the unborn are tossed in ditches on the side of the road.  It is little surprise that around 500 women commit suicide every day in China

There are three major routes for the daring few to have a second child.

1) Face the Fines

Wealthy families can pay the stiffs fines to have seconds.  The costs per child range with from providence to providence and with the ferocity of the population administrators.  Many of the fines range between 200,000 yuan and 300,000 yuan, $20,000 and $30,000 American dollars, per year in a country where the household income is just over $10,000 American dollars.  The costs rise quickly with additional child.  Only the elite have two children, having three is almost unheard of , and more than that seems to be sacrilege.  This path is only open to the wealthy. The 99% must look elsewhere.

2) Bribe the Bureaucrats

For the majority of the 160,000 “out of plan” children are born into China this is the best option since  corruption is a core pillar in Chinese culture.  For a bride, officials are more than happy to legitimize the paperwork for illegal children.  Loopholes in the law are stretched to the breaking point.  The second child can be declared a member of a childless family or that of a rural family which was alloted two children.  More daring families risk simply declaring the second child a twin of the legal first-born one.  As families get poorer they go to further extremes to meet the loophole conditions; it has driven some to marry relatives to hide seconds while others hide children when inspectors arrive.  This path is dangerous, however it is the only option presented to most parents.

3) Births Abroad

Middle income parents choose to have babies abroad.  Some are born in capitalist cities like Hong Kong, where the restrictions are not in place.  Others go to great distances; some fly all the way to Japan or even the United States to birth children.  Illegal clinics host the expecting mothers, paying lucrative rates, until their children are ready.  These children are then birthed  like normal babies in conventional hospitals.  The problems arise with getting the mother and baby back to the family.  Since the babies were born on foreign soil they are technically foreigners.  This makes life difficult because parents still pay hiked rates for education and health of the children.  This is generally the cheapest legal option.

Conclusion

Out of love and passion every year tens of thousands of children are born “out of plan” every year.  This is a bold statement about the indomitable nature of mankind as the desire for having multiple children survived terrifying propaganda encompassing half a century.

This situation brings to mind a quote from chaos theorist Malcolm, of Jurassic Park, “Life will find a way.”  Another, lesser known, Jurassic Park quote comes to mind as well: ” OH-MY-GO-THE-DINOSAURS-ARE-EATING-ME-SHOT-IT-SHOT-IT-SH——*crunch, crunch*.”  With its one-child policy the Chinese government is fighting the very forces of evolution.  A hundred thousand years of primal struggle cannot be snuffed out by a few misguided politicians and a little red book.

When the Jurassic side of China’s one-child-policy emerges the country will be torn asunder.  Love of family is stronger than the logic of population parameters.  These massing illegals parents and activists indicate a revolution will happen sooner rather than later.  Change is coming to China: life will find a way.

Georgia: Outbreak of Latest Jasmine Revolution

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Protesters stoke new flames of rebellion in Tbillisi, Georgia

Tbillisi, capital of the impoverished nation Georgia, was the first battleground for the latest outbreak of the Jasmine Revolution.  Several thousand revolutionaries converged on the city over the last three days, publicly battling law enforcement in a series of street battles.  Tear gas and rubber bullets dispersed revolutionaries after prolonged protests that paralyzed the cities major roads.  During the engagements both protesters and policemen were injured badly enough to be hospitalized.  A police cruiser was surrounded and damaged beyond repair by an angry mob; the unfortunate police officer was able to escape.  Locals call it the Second Rose Revolution, naming it after a successful revolution in November, 2003.

What is Next For the Revolutionaries?

A “Day of Rage” has been scheduled for May 25 by exiled opposition leader Irakli Okruashvili.  For the last four years he has been living in exile in France; he promises to return to his native country, which has a standing arrest warrant on him, on Wednesday to personally help the revolution take seed and flourish.  President Mikhael Saakashvili has survived and retained his authority in several similar uprisings over the past decade.

How Does This Impact the Region?

Neighbors Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are dreading the outbreak of rebellion on their doorstep while local superpower Russia is prodding the nation, looking for an opportunity to maneuver its own politicians into power.  Revolutions in Georgia have partially destabilized the region; influxes of arms and widespread casualties trigger weak regional security and mutual distrust.  Citizens of the smaller nations are also greatly concerned about the potential for Russian intervention, something that is nearly unthinkable.  In 2008, Russia annexed Georgia for several weeks after Georgia shot down a Russian jet.  Nobody likes tyrants, but they would favor them over the totalitarianism of the Russians that they subjected to until the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Why Is There A Revolution Now?

Enraged civilians have endured nearly over three decades of troubled government run by illegitimate presidents and under the fear of the Russians.  The crucible of high employment, low standards of living and, above all, slashed pensions combined with existing widespread corruption have synthesized a new revolutionary force in the country.  These revolutionaries call for socioeconomic equality, free elections, and righteous justice for administrators who have betrayed their country.  Widespread support and secretive organizing on backwater social networking sites have created a powerful force that has the potential to succeed where past uprisings have failed.

Are There Scientific Terms to Describe this Revolutionary Behavior?

Criminologists describe the situation emerging in Georgia as rebellious deviant behavior derived from strain theory.  This psychological theory predicts that when a populace replaces the current objectives of the society with modern ones that pertain to the specific needs of the populace rather than the arbitrary orders by the imposed authority. President Mikhael Saakashvili has an unpopular government that is fraught with corruption and does not meet basic humanitarian requirements.  The people have forgotten his objectives and have substituted their own as they plan to establish a government with free and fair elections.  This deviant behavior is a natural result of the mistreatment of the Georgians.  The only surprising realization of this uprising is that this revolution has not happened already and that revolutions like it have not cropped up in nations with equally misguided governments, such as China or the United States of America.  These large nation need to follow the examples set by the upstart Georgians, Tunisians, and Croatians.

Good Luck Georgians!

Corrupt Croatia : Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor Has Been Unable to Halt Corruption, Citizens Protest for New Prime Minister

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Tens of thousands across the beleaguered country of Croatia call for elections to oust their Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, whose inaction has allowed corruption  and organized crime to spread unchecked.  The citizens of the Coating have been staging growing peaceful protests to express their outrage.  Their demands is for elections and general reforms have so far been fruitless.  Kosor is flatly refusing to hold elections or drastically change her policies.  The number of demonstrators grows steadily.

Jadranka Koser, Prime Minister of Croatia

What Types Corruption Is Takeing Place In the Government?

There are numerous failings in the legal aspects of Croatia.  The judicial system is heavily polluted, the European Union expressed dire concern about the effectiveness of the courts.  Judges, jurors, and even witnesses are often coerced to arrive at false verdicts due to lack of effective government oversight.  In addition, according to Amnesty International Croatia continually fails to protect war crime witnesses.  Croatia has not been able to clear itself of many significant war crimes that are nearly two decades old.

Illegal property seizures and other property concerns also go unchecked.  Sly politicians and criminals have rigged Croatia to funnel even more riches, in the form of real estate, into their pockets. They simultaneously block suits and legal complaints.  There are currently over a million backlogged property disputes in Croatia.

The border checkpoints are also poorly administered, allowing unchecked contraband and rampant smuggling to permeate the country.  An activist staged a sting operation in which he videotapes himself bribing multiple officials.  These breaches of law seem almost commonplace.

How is This Corruption Being Fought?

Efforts to combat the corruption have been counter productive.  Kosor promised to rid Croatia of corruption when she gained power in 2009.  Since then the governments corruption probes have actually aided corruption rather than fight in.  Money spent to find the criminals have ended up in the pockets of fraudulent corruptions and the suspected politicians. This complete rout of reform has forced the Croatians to actively demand a new prime minister, one who is more effectively hopefully. Thousands have turned out for protests.

How Are the Croatians Reacting?

They are peacefully protesting, demanding new elections that will replace Kosor with someone who can enact reforms.  Despite the growing crowds of protesters she continues to refuse to hold elections.  She has instead targeting her efforts to help Croatia enter into the  European Union.

Meanwhile record numbers of unemployed citizens parade in the streets. It is reported that there are as many as 330,000 unemployed in Croatia. Many of their brethren, who are outraged with the civil and legal rights issue that plague the country, also protest peacefully.  There has only one incident of violence, by the renegade Dinamo Zagreb-soccer club fans have fought against police.  Their actions have been widely condemned by the protesters.

Why is Corruption A Problem in Croatia?

In recent years economic conditions in Croatia have decayed leading many ordinary citizens taking bribes and carry out illegal actives just to get by.  Many politicians have exploited this desperation, pocketing fortunes.  One infamous example is Ivo Sanader, the former prime minister of Croatia preceding Kosor.  He initially fled the county in 2009, just before it became known he had been arranging generous loans for illegal kickbacks.  He currently is slowly being extradited from Austria and being declared an alleged war profiteer.

In addition organized crime runs unchecked throughout Croatia.  The country serves as a highways for the drug trade; many illegal shipments make their way through the region unchecked every year due to the corruption.  Activists and their love ones are targeted and killed, the criminals have used everything from car bombs to public assassinations. Progress against organized crime has mostly stagnated.


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