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

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India Invades Tablet Market: $35 “Aakash” Goes Viral In India’s Education system

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Apple’s Ipad 2: $499

Amazon’s Fire: $199

India’s Aakash: $35

Connecting 220 million students with the world’s cheapest tablet: Priceless.

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India drives to connect rural students

What is The “Aakash“?

It is a low-cost, high-performance computer tablet, price at $35 per device.

It is designed to proliferate knowledge through education in India, especially in rural regions. Despite its rock bottom price it still displays a 7 inch screen, plays high-definition video, streams video chatting, hosts word processing, runs Android 2.2 operation system, possesses 32 gigabyte memory, uses GPRS for connecting to the Internet from anywhere, and uses WiFi for Youtube streaming in hot spots. The Indian government will subsidized each table down to $35.  This is ideal for university students because it allows them to build better human capital with their limited resources.  Previously, many have been cut off from the rest of the world due nonexistent infrastructure.

The English translation of Aakask is “sky.”  This tablet’s release will mark the beginning of a new dawn in education in India and the world.

What Does Aakash Mean For The Tablet Market?

Datawind, the private company manufacturing Aakash, announced that the tablet will be priced at $60 dollars for the commercial market. It will be on shelves by November.  This will encroach on the tablet war already progressing in India; currently Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7 holds just under half the market and less than one in five tablets is an Apple Ipad.  Dozens of other models struggle for niches.  The vanguard shipment of Aakash tablets numbers 100,000.  When this large-scale field test proves successful eight to ten million more will be bought by the Indian government.

Undercutting the more expensive tablets the Aakash will force innovation and a price war.  Aakash forces a technological survival of the fittest; the best and cheapest technologies will overthrow the more expensive models.  The economist term for this is creative destruction.

Unless other companies build a better tablet they very simply will be locked out of the market.  The cunning Indian government will disseminate cheaper and higher quality tablets, with internet access, by forcing the hand of the private sector.

What Does This Mean for the Future of Indian Education?

At the unveiling today Kapil Sibal, the Indian Human Resource Minister, aptly described Aakash’s historic significance,

“There are some moments in history that will be milestones recognised by future generations. This is one such milestone. Today, we see the beginning of a dream realised, a dream in which every student in every corner of this country will have access to technology that defines the 21st Century.”

By bringing the world to the fingertips of their students schools towards increasing the quality of education exponentially.  Answers to impossible questions will be just a click away.

It also forces the hand of Western education.  Already, towns and cities across the Western world have already launched similar educational initiative.  This is not enough; every statistic points to American and European students falling behind their Chinese and Indian counterparts.  Many American colleges already distribute laptops, tablets must be given to the coming classes if American schools are to stay competitive.  Otherwise, American education will fall victim to creative destruction.

War in Sudan: The Korea of Africa (How a Demilitarized Zone Will Spawn War across Africa and the Second Cold War)

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War between the Sudans threatens to engulf Africa as border conflicts over valuable regions spark firefights and troop occupations.  Abyei, a region with lush farmland and oil deposits, became the hotspot as fighting ignited over the last couple of days.  Northern tanks and infantry occupied the region, driving out any Southern troops and sympathizers.  Negotiations over this disputed region took place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.  The resolution agreed upon was to declare the territory a demilitarized region for the moment and to have it policed by Ethiopian troops until a national vote can be taken to decide the fate of the region.  It has yet to see if these negations will be observed or abandoned.  This unstable situation could easily explode into an international conflict, as China defends its oil reserves in Northern Sudan as the humanitarians and Africans rally around Republic of Republic of South Sudan and its struggling call for freedom.

How Has This Incident Affected the Region?

Tensions in one of the most dangerous regions of the world have only been risen higher and sparked more battles.  In recent days the conflict between the nations has manifested in aircraft raids on Republic of Republic of South Sudan and widespread famine.   The surrounding Africans nations are concerned that this war could spill over into their territory or create a new militant state rather than a new democratic one.  This could result in the country becoming a haven for criminals and terrorists, something that no region of the world wants.  Military units are being deployed to all surrounding borders as the Ethiopians head an effort to negotiate a truce in the region.  The outlook is dim, it is almost certain a full-scale war is on the horizon.

How Could This Blossom Into A Battleground of the Second Cold War?

Chinese conglomerates import large amounts of oil and gold from Northern Sudan.  Republic of Republic of South Sudan, oppressed by its northern largely autocratic government, will look to other superpowers to fund its development.  Geologists, once they are allowed into the region, expect to find large pockets of oil and rare minerals in the Republic of South Sudan.  America, Russia, India, and the European Union will all be interested in reinforcing their decaying reserves of oil.  While the North is largely Islamic the South still largely has traditional African cultures, which may result in African nations supporting the weaker southern nation rather than the alien northern one.  Tense relations between the nations, based on a history or genocide, could easily spark off a conflict.  The ensuing global incident would resemble the Korean War where over thirty thousand Americans were killed.  Neither side would back down when oil, the life blood of the economy, is on the line; this was seen in the Persian Gulf War.

Why Was the Republic of South Sudan Founded in Such a Toxic Position?

Earlier this year, on January 21, 2011, a landslide vote severed Sudan into Northern and Southern countries based on cultural and religious differences.  This landmark achievement, planned to officially separate the new nations on July 7, 2011.  Widespread border conflicts have marred the stability of the region, refugees and insurgents throughout the region have complicated the issue to the point of violence.  Republic of Republic of South Sudan lacks the infrastructure and coordinated military forces to police this and the Northern Sudanese could not care less about their castaway state.   A situation like this was inevitable.

How Does This Relate To the Sociology of the Region?

Sudan was an autocratic state ruled by President Omar al-Bashir, an Islamic extremist, who took control of the state after a coup more than twenty years ago.  Since then he has committed genocide in Darfur, skimmed hundreds of millions from taxpayers, and charged with five accounts of crimes against humanity.   His totalitarianism state has been pushing towards Islamic law for the whole country.  Religious and cultural differences with the Southern half of the country led to their expulsion in the January 21, 2011 election.  His rational-legal authority has killed millions and oppressed the rest of the country; the increasingly evident region that he set free Republic of South Sudan was to cut off the center of resistance against him.  In the future, he may move in with more armed troops to silence that voice of freedom for forever.

The Abusive Men of India : The Most Violent and Sexist Society in the World

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India, a nation of engineers and doctors is on the forefront of every major technological innovation, severely lacks in fulfilling basic liberties concerns such as gender equality.  24% of Indian men have sexually abused their wives.  One out five have inflicted forced sex on their wives.  60% believe to violently discipline women is just and morally correct.  These rates are twenty to thirty times higher than most of the other surveyed countries.  This breach of sexism will inevitably stunt India’s economic and political growth and demote its international status if it has not already corrupted the culture beyond repair.

What were the Specific Results of the Survey?

Several other devolving countries were surveyed; Croatia, Chile, China, Mexico, Rwanda, and Brazil.  Croatia was the most progressive country, 82% of Croatians support gender equitability between men and women. China, Mexico, and Brazil had levels surpassing 50% of gender equitability while Rwanda reported only 30% of men treated women as equals.

The positive trends have also emerged from the several thousand men and women they surveyed across India.  Their rates of violent crimes, outside the home, such as robbery or physical fights were some of the lowest in developing countries.  Meanwhile Croatia and Mexico reported significant rates of violent crimes, each roughly around 20%.  However, these nations are the battlegrounds of fierce drug wars and bitter public protests fighting large scale corruption.  These nations inflated violent crime rates are acts of self defense and desperation; while the sexually depraved acts of the Indian husbands are that of lust influenced by a sexist culture.

Why Does This Happen?

The culture of India has never been favorable to women.  Historically, throughout rural India it is sociably acceptable that men who are dissatisfied with their wives set them on fire; this is a genocidal custom the Indian government has been unable to halt.  In some regions of India women are viewed as inferior creatures who are only useful for sex and taking care of the household.  In politics, despite one out of every three positions being designated only for female candidates the women who are elected are figureheads representing their male husbands or family heads. (9)  Women are generally seen as subservient, it is not surprising when it comes to sex these overall cultural trends dictate the terms of the abusive engagements.

Who Published This Survey?

The International Center for Research of Women published these awe-bringing findings.  There chief goals are to crate gender equality across the world and have done notable work in Africa and Southeastern Asia.  They also spread AIDS awareness to developing nations, set up food drives to feed starving women, and support abused women wherever they are found.  Their results here in India were most likely first hypothesized then bitterly actualized.

How will this Abusive Trend Affect India?

While other nations retreated from the credit tsunami during the 2008 recession India’s middle class stood firm and held back the tide.  Their economy suffered only a slight blip and continues to grow at a rate of roughly 8% per year and is only second in growing GDP to the Chinese.  With a well educated middle class erecting a stable economy in India while they are simultaneously pursuing international interests its economic stability is sound, allowing men across India to pursue careers in all walks of life.

While women are rarely officially forbidden they are continually persecuted, they are outnumbered by men in every employment field and are kept in the extreme minority.

Without major social reform India will not be able to continue this aggressive economic trend.  Compared to China, who has a similar population, India will only be able to staff roughly half the jobs that their gender equitable counterpart will be able to because of cultural sexism.  China pushes there remaining girls towards success, while the Indian girls are hidden from having an education.  India will continue to grow rapidly as long prospecting employees remains high.  Once they run out of applicants India’s economy will stagnate and enter a recession, while the gender equal countries such as China will continue to bloom.

It pays to treat your wife well.

Privatization of the Space Industry: Changing of the Guard

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NASA, the venerable space administration that rocketed the first man to the moon is in a state of prolonged financial collapse that will eventually consume the organization.  Meanwhile innovative corporations such as Virgin Galactic and SpaceX are expanding at explosive rates and are set to take over the space industry.  There is to be a changing of the guard in the near future, hopefully before America losses its lead in the space industry to a more aggressive superpower.

The Launch of Falcon 9 Rocket, which shot the Dragon Space Capsule into space on         December 9, 2010. This is not NASA, this is SpaceX; the private space industry has arrived.

Why is NASA Deteriorating?

America is now slowly beginning to recover from perhaps the second worst recession in American history; President Obama has frozen all government spending, putting multiple NASA projects on hold.  The Constellation Program, which is necessary to replace the Space Shuttles that are due to be decommissioned in 2012.  Any possible moon base construction was eliminated when President Obama struck down the program, due to excessive spending.

The problem with the government funded space administration is that it is government funded.  While private firms are free to spend exorbitant amounts of investor’s money, sometimes resulting in bankruptcy, they are allowed to take risks that are very unprofitable in the short term that are very profitable in the long term.  NASA has to meet the standard of the government, which means they have to regularly and routinely show that they are needed and are valuable to America’s interests.

NASA is no longer valuable.  The group was never founded for scientific purposes, which are currently its only goals at present time.  It was founded to counteract Sputnik 1, launched October 4,   signaling soviet space aggression.  America was aghast, the Russians had surpassed the American sciences, morale plummeted and many questioned if the United States could prevail in the Cold War.

The answer to this question was the formation of NASA, on July 29, 1958.  The administration was constructed as a propaganda tool, their goals was to surpass the Russian space program, invigorate the American morale, demoralize the Russian people, and perhaps figure out the logistics of putting nuclear missiles in space.

None of these goals apply to today, the USSR has fallen apart there is no longer a need for large numbers of nuclear missiles.  A few more powerful modern nukes are now considered much more useful than several hundred less powerful and expensive to maintain, nukes.  This has directly lad to NASA’s steady decline; they no longer have the financial resources to pursue any courses of action effectively.

Private companies are taking advantage of this federal slip up, capitalizing on failing NASA programs and creating new space markets that will make the cosmos accessible to the everyman.

What New Markets Have the Private Space Companies Opened Up?

There are two major corporations that have both pursued the question of space travel in different ways for different goals.

The first successful space corporation is Virgin Galactic.  This company has a simple, coherent goal; construct a space port, create a space transportation agency, reap the rewards.  International transportation, of people and goods, along with space tourism, will be their two primary goals. Spaceport America, which began construction 2005 in southern New Mexico, is in the final stages of completion.  The spaceline, which is what they are calling their five spaceplane organization, is set to launch in Fall, 2011.  For $200,000 dollars you can get a seat on SpaceShipTwo and jet off into space.

The second successful corporation is SpaceX.  This company endeavors to put satellite in Low Earth Orbit by use of their own private rockets and to begin ferry people out into deep space as well.  They successfully launched Dragon, a human space vehicle, using a SpaceX rocket on December 9, 2010.  Better yet, they were also able to recover the space vehicle after it reentered orbit.

Both of these companies are capitalizing on the failures of NASA.  While NASA freezes up, because it has far outlived its founding purpose, these companies are set to explode across the solar system.

What is the Future of the Space Industry?

The future of the space industry is a race, a race between the independent American corporations and various international superpowers.  ChinaIndia, and Japan have launched initiatives to put members of their own nationalities in space, hoping to beat America back to the moon and then beating them to Mars.  SpaceX and the remnants of NASA, who will be revitalized by the foreign threat similar to their old opponent, will lead the Americans.  These four sides will race to every celestial body in the solar system, staking rights and claiming glory.  The great race of our times is almost upon us.

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