Geo-Politics: Change the Dynamic ~ Offer Incentive

If I were President…

1.  We get less than 20% of our oil from the Middle East.  I’d halt this immediately.

2.  That oil shortfall would be sourced from our own reserves and Canada.  I’d even throw a bone to Venezuela in exchange for their withdrawal from OPEC.

3.  I’d close all bases in the Middle East.

4.  I’d place a base in Israel and Egypt.  Keep the base in Turkey.

5.  I’d tell Egypt and Turkey that they have choice.  Either they’re with the West or their with the Muslim world.  If they decide that they’re with the Muslim World, then we withdraw all support and all bases from those countries.

6.  I’d tell Europe and Asia that America is no longer responsible and will no longer take action in the Middle East except in the case of defense of our allies.

7.  The Allies in the Middle East would be designated as Israel because they are a Democracy as well as Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.

8.  Our alliance with Egypt, Turkey and Jordan would be predicated upon Democratic reforms and their renunciation of a foreign policy based upon Islamic Internationalism.  These countries can keep their Islamic Nationalism, if they chose to do so.  That choice would mean our pulling all resources and support from their nations.

9.  Support of Jordan and Egypt would also be predicated upon an agreement to assimilation all Palestinian refugees.  All refugee camps would have to be closed down.  Those refugees would have to be given full rights in the countries in which they are located.  The US would assist with funding for housing and job training for these refugees at 50% of the cost.  This Aid Package would be closely guided by a contractual auditor to ensure that the monies were being used to build infrastructure and not lining the pockets of corrupt officials.  If bribes are insisted upon, funding would be withdrawn.

10.  Continued support of Israel would be predicated upon a real peace plan with the Palestinians.

a.  Israel would either permanently partition the West Bank and Gaza as sovereign nations and pull out completely leaving the Palestinians to their own fate.

or

b.  Israel would annex the Palestinian areas and alter their constitution making Israel an officially and legally secular nation.  Part of that constitutional reconstruction would be safeguards for all religions, creeds, ethnicities from persecution, etc.

There would be a ten year time frame to effect these changes with specific milestones in place.  If these milestones are not met, we would pull all support for any or all of these nations.

We would offer the new Palestine Nation, if created, a package of aid in return for a turning away from Islamism.  The US would provide financial and expert support in building a nation from the ground up.  A referendum from the Palestinian people would be required to receive this Aid Package.  In essence, the Palestinian people would be required to request it via said referendum and the leaders of Hamas, Fatah as well as members of any other quasi-governmental group recognized by the people.  If the people did not vote for our assistance, the offer would be withdrawn.  This Aid Package would also be closely guided by a contractual auditor to ensure that the monies were being used to build infrastructure and not lining the pockets of corrupt officials.  If bribes are insisted upon, funding would be withdrawn.
The onus would then be on these nations.  If they decided to go along with us, they would have our support.  If not, we would withdraw from them and leave them to their collective  fates.

I would have these treaties ratified by the US Congress and the United Nations.

There would be no military solutions offered.  Either they come on line with us or we no longer have a reason to be associated with them.  End of discussion.

As for the Gulf and their oil, that would be the responsibility of whomever wishes to continue to purchase oil from those nations.  China, France, Germany…whomever it may be.

We would continue to patrol the ocean lanes for support of international trade.  The Straits of Hormuz — no longer our problem.  Saudi Arabia — keep with your Wahhabism/Salafism on your own shores or risk offending more nations.

Egypt seems to be progressing towards Democracy.  This surprised me as I thought that the Muslim Brotherhood would take them in the direction of Islamic Sharia.  This is a positive development.  Jordan would need to step away from Monarchy and join the rest of the world in Democratic reforms.

Over the short term, these initiatives would seem expensive.  Over the long term, these initiatives would save America and the Globe much in terms of blood and treasure.

This would be my solution.

In effect, we would be saying; “Join the World and we will support you.  Remain in the Dark Ages and we will abandon you.”

I want out of the business of supporting corrupt and/or stubborn regimes.  Whether that regime be Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Western Europe.

The next thing that I would do would be to withdraw all forces from Europe.  The only way we would keep US troops stationed in Europe would be if at least 50% of the costs were funded by the country that wished for us to be there.  All real estate used by the forces stationed in those countries would need to be loaned permanently at a cost free basis for the duration of the deployment to that country.  A Status of Forces Agreement would have to be met whereby our Servicemembers would be subject to US Law and the UCMJ only while in country.  All services for our Servicemembers would be provided without interference by the United States.  All Servicemembers would be on a Tax Free Status in that country.  That nation would also have to be a member in good standing of the Democratic Nations of the World.

If they are not willing to do this.  No problem.  We will simply not have a need to act in defense of their Nation.

I would also pull out of South Korea.  On the way out, I’d tell China that if North Korea attacks, we would bomb the North into the dark ages.  That would be my final and only dealing with North Korea.  If the people of the North are too brainwashed, too stupid or too weak to fight for change, this is not the problem of the United States of America.  Let China feed North Korea or South Korea if that be their desire.

I would pull all of our forces out of Japan.  Japan doesn’t need us there and many of the people don’t want us there.  Next, I would enter a treaty with the Philippines wherein we purchase land from them to station our Pacific Forces.   I would base a Marine Expeditionary Unit and an Army Mechanized Infantry/Stryker Division there along with a Carrier Fleet being on Station at all times.

China would be warned that Japan is still our ally.  Taiwan would be told to work out their differences with China.  If China became bellicose and threatened invasion, we would act in defense of Taiwan.  Unless the threat is based on Taiwanese provocation.  In that case, Taiwan is on their own.

I would also make an alliance of mutual support with India.  Our Armed Forces would conduct joint operations/exercises with India.  If possible, I would allow for a treaty whereby US Forces would be permanently stationed in Southern India.  This would hinge upon Indian acquiescence on the Kashmir debate.

I would withdraw all forces and support from Pakistan and Afghanistan.  If Pakistan wanted our support, they would have to oust the Saudi Wahhabis and the Deobandi.  Pakistan would also be required to sweep the FATA and NWFP of taliban influences.  They would also be required to withdraw from the Kashmir debate.  This would be the price of assistance from the US.  No debate.  No equivocation.  If they want our support, they give up their dispute with India over Kashmir and halt support of all terrorism directed towards India.

India and Kashmir would be required to allow a full vote by the Kashmiri people.  1.  Independence  2.  Annexation by Pakistan  3.  Retention by India

International Election Officials would oversee the vote.  Any monkey business by either side and no deal.  Kashmir should be able to decide it’s fate.  Their fate should not be decided by Muslim terrorists or Indian Soldiers.

We would withdraw all support from Pakistan if this is not followed through to completion.   With regards to India, we go to a neutral stance.  India has no need of our support.  They’re a viable nation in their own right.

Aside from moving away from the Defense of Europe, I would do nothing in Europe.  They’re sovereign nations that can navigate their way through the world in their own rite.  We should not be providing defense for them unless they are willing to subsidize it.

On patrolling the commercial sea lanes, I would require that other nations either subsidize fleet operations or provide support in the form of personnel and equipment.  Either that or we protect only US shipping.

It’s time for the free ride to end.  The Nations of the World (especially Europe) have enjoyed peace at the expense of the American tax payer for far too long.  They decry our every move.  It’s time for them to step up.  The World doesn’t want Team America — World Police or so they say.  Let them have their desire.

These actions would save American Tax dollars.  They would remove us from the Middle East conflicts.  They would place the onus on other nations to conduct their own defense and improve the lot of their own citizenry.

After these offers, blame for the sorry affairs of the world could no longer be placed at the feet of America.  The primary sources of conflict would have been given a viable alternative.  If they chose the path to peace, it would be with our leadership.  If they chose the path to war, it would be at their own behest.  The blame would lie with themselves.

Another thing that I think would be a positive is for an exchange program wherein a Battalion of another Nations forces would be given the opportunity to come to Fort Irwin, Texas to train with US Forces.  I’d rotate the Nation on a regular basis.  6 Month rotations.  This would be a tremendous opportunity for our Armed Forces and theirs.  I’d offer this opportunity to India, Romania, South Korea, Hungary, Egypt, Russia, Thailand, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and other Nations with whom we would engage in treaties of mutual defense or with whom we wish to improve relations.

The last item on my agenda would be reforming the UN.  That, though, is a whole other post.

That would keep us from any more of this:

Along with legislation mandating a Declaration of War in order to commit forces to a Ground Invasion of another country.  I have no problem with bombing a perpetrating country into the stone ages.  If there are viable targets.  I would also work to repeal the prohibition against assassination of World Leaders.  We could have saved a lot of money and lives by simply putting a .99$ bullet through the forehead of Saddam Hussein.  We could save a bit more by spreading about 200 USD worth of lead throughout the Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian power structures.

Fast Food Overseas

Fast food overseas.  It’s a little different.

This is one example.  Lots of tuna and corn offerings over here.  In China as well.

McDonalds in India offers no beef burgers at all.

In Israel during some of their Holy Days, they offer only unleavened bread.

Some of the stuff tastes pretty good.  Some of it is wierd.  KFC does not offer their famous cole slaw in Thailand in so far as I know.  They offer a tuna/corn salad instead.  It’s pretty good stuff. I grab one every time I stop in to a KFC.

A few differences here and there…

An Introduction to World Geography: America and the World

My Fellow Americans!  Is this how you see the world, too?

A friend sent me this on facebook.  I almost died laughing.  Especially the depiction of Europe.  He’s a Brit, though.  He wanted to know where the Brit Isles were or wy they were omited.  His thought was that surely the Brits weren’t being mixed in with the Euros.  lol

His comment:

no, but the nation that gave you your great great (repeat as req,) families doesn’t make the map????? its wrong…
and why would an anti-american spell centre like a yank???? not sure, but I like the map!!!
As for me, I love the map.  Especially the summation of Europe.

Bangkok Burning!

Getting reports that the Red Shirts have started an “Arson Campaign” around the city.  Channel 3 News Station is on fire.  Central World and Paragon Shopping centers are on fire.   The Red Shirts seem to be setting fires everywhere and they’ve been said to be targeting Reporters in the affected areas.  There is smoke all over the city.  The looters are knocking off ATMs and rolling out with all of the money.

Chiangmai is also embroiled and various places have been set to fire up there as well.

These guys are desperate and have or are losing any popular support that they may have had with these latest acts.  They’re setting themselves up to be caricatured and treated as mere thugs instead of a true protest for social justice.

Michael Yon Sitting with a couple French journalists now. One has blood on his pants. Says it was from another journalist who was hit but no medics would come to him. Said he saw a soldier shot in half by a grenade and also saw a female freelance journalist named Vanessa who was slightly wounded.

The TV Stations are all playing what I can only describe as propaganda.  They just played 21 Guns by Green Day with scenes from the Red Shirts battling the Army and such.  Earlier they were playing paeans to the King.  Cartoons with music and such.

Got a message from a friend that a girl was shot while standing on her balcony.  No one knows if this was on purpose or if it was an errant shot.  Now people are fearful of standing near their windows or on their balconies.

Right now, they are announcing officially the curfew for tonight.  Guess we can’t go outside.  This is pretty crazy.  Afghanistan wasn’t this insane.

P.S.  but don’t worry Momma, we’re ok!  Thinking about getting out of the city tomorrow until this thing calms down.

photo by Nick Sivapon Fakthep

photo by Nick Sivapon Fakthep

Apparently, Central World has been damaged heavily as fire and rescue could not get into the area to put out the fires.

Bangkok, Thailand ~ Get Out of the Affected Areas….OR ELSE!

https://i2.wp.com/www.asianyouthforum.org/classic/ayfdelegatespage/thailand-flag.gif

The Thai Government is issuing orders to evacuate the Red Shirt areas by 1500hrs today.

Any caught in those areas will be deemed a terrorist or criminal and jailed subject to punishments of a minimum of 2 years in prison.

Apparently, the Thai Gov’t is finally taking this thing seriously and are going to put an end to it.

It’s about damn time!

As the Angst Builds in Bangkok…

Dave is heading to the beach.

It got real bloody last night.  Sirens all night long.  I couldn’t hear the explosions or shooting, but, you could tell something was going down.

Yesterday, they shut down the BTS at 1630.  It really wasn’t that big of a deal.  I simply walked home and fortunately found a shorter way home.

I hope this thing gets settled without more bloodshed.  It will only cause more problems later on.

BANGKOK WAR ZONE

Seven civilians have died in clashes between United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship protesters and security officers in downtown Bangkok.

Soldiers take up position as anti-government protesters burn tyres near Bon Kai intersection yesterday. Security forces tried to push protesters back, sparking sporadic clashes. APICHART JINAKUL

Clashes started late yesterday morning and continued throughout the afternoon at the Witthayu intersection, the Thai-Belgium Bridge, Lumpini police station, Ratchaprarop Road, Din Daeng intersection, Silom Road and Soi Sala Daeng.

Soldiers used tear gas, rubber bullets, and live rounds against protesters, who retaliated using home-made rockets and Molotov cocktails to block advancing soldiers and by setting fire to a bus.

The sound of gunfire was heard from both sides.

Rambling Through Laos

Spent the past week in Laos on my Visa run.

Had a great time with Unny.  Can’t wait to do it again.  It’s so cool traveling with her.  Everything seems more enjoyable to me.

We spent a couple of days doing the backpacker gig.  Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiene.  Kayaking and drowning in the Nam Khan!  Then we flew back home and the plane damn near kills us…well, the pilot or the wind

But we made it and I laughed my ass off while the girl next to me puked her guts out!

.

Buddha Statues

These are my favorite two Buddha statues that I’ve purchased over the years.

My favorite Buddha Statues ~ Buddha under the Bodhi Tree (L) and being protected by Naga (R)

Favorite Buddha Statues

The statue on the Left is Buddha meditating under the Bodhi Tree where he reached enlightenment or Nirvana (nibbana).  The state on the Right is Buddha resting atop and being shaded/protected by Naga.   Both of these are important events in the Buddhist tradition.  I have not seen a duplicate statue of either one of these.  I like that they are both unique and detailed.  These statues tell a story.  I like that.

Beatdown at Soi Cowboy!

https://i0.wp.com/www.soicowboy-bangkok.com/images/soi_cowboy_entrance.jpg

Unny, Bupe and I took a taxi over to Sukhumvit Soi 11 to eat some Mexican food at Charley Browns.  The food was decent.  A bit bland, but, near enough to Mexican food so as to please te palate.  Afterward, Unny and Bupe were craving Oysters and Somtam.  So we headed over to Soi Cowboy.

Soi Cowboy is one of the “SexPat” areas of Bangkok.  Go Go Bars and Prostitutes galore.  Everything an old guy who can still get it up with a viagra induced libido could desire.  And the old fellas were out in force as usual.  It’s hilarious walking around the SexPat areas.  You see everything there.  Let your imagination soar.  It’s probably there or right around the corner.

As we pulled up to Soi Cowboy, a group of men came running out.  Must have been ten or twelve of them.  Once we got to Sams 200o–the bar that serves Oysters, we were filled in on the details of all the excitement.  It seems that yesterday an ExPat attempted to depart Spice Girls Go Go Bar without paying his bill.  The bouncers ganked him up and proceeded to rough the guy up.  The next day or that same night, Mr. (s)Expat paid a group of Thai hooligans to go to the Spice Girls Go Go Bar and raise a little hell.  This was the group that we saw running out of Soi Cowboy as we pulled up.

Apparently, they ran into Spice Girls Go Go Bar and beat down at least one of the bouncers.  When we passed by the Spice Girls Go Go Bar, a crowd had gathered and was rubber necking the situation.  I laughed.  One of the bouncers was sitting on the floor of the deck at Spice Girls Go Go Bar looking dazed and confused.  Obviously, he’d gotten the worst of the beating.

There was an air of excitement on Soi Cowboy, but, for the most part, it was just another day for the gals on the strip.  I assume that they’re used to the violence and insanity that consumes their lives and the strip called Soi Cowboy.

I just laughed and yelled; “Get some!”  And laughed some more.

Later, the police showed up and probably took statements.  Nothing will come of it, of course.  I’m sure the hooligans were attached to some organized crime element in the city.  The police will be paid off or more than likely will let it quietly subside and go away.

That’s life in the big city.  Life on Soi Cowboy.

Excitement.  Insanity.  Laced with violence and sex and anything goes…

Took those two snaps with my iPhone.  Decent little cam on the thing.

Home Invasion, Well, Sort of…

This little bugger invaded my Condo last week.  Evil looking little sucker.  Those claws look like they could be used to filet an elephant!

Anyone have any idea what it is?

Damn thing flies, too.  Startled the hell out of me.  It was all I could do to not scream like a school girl when it took flight and headed for my head.  lol  Don’t get me wrong.  I got out of it’s way.  Those claws are scary.  Used a pair of tongs to pick it up and throw it off the balcony.  Felt like it weighed a good 10 or 12 ounces.  That shell protecting it’s wings and body was hard as rock.

Those claws and pinchers.  I had no desire to test their tensil strength.

Grabbed it.  Ran for the balcony and tossed it as far as I could.

No idea how it got up that high.  We’re on the 15th floor.  Must have been a good gust of wind that pushed it up to us.

Damn thing gave me the heeby jeebies.  haha

Life in Bangkok

A couple of days ago, Arik and I strolled around Bangkok.

We ran into a group of Thai Catholics.  Something that you’d think would be pretty rare and I suppose it is.

It was Songkran.  So we hung out for a bit and everyone threw water on us and we drank some whiskey with them.  Arik ran down to 7-11 and bought them another bottle of whiskey and we sat for a while and watched them throw water on passersby.  All in good fun.  They put the white powder on us and we all sat around laughing and having a good time.  Later that night, we met Unny and Bupe at Thanon Khaosarn for drinks.  A little battle broke out around us with folks throwing beer bottles.  Unny and Bupe hid behind a beer tub and Arik and I went out and tried to get pics of the mob.

Good times all around on my 4th night in Bangkok.  ; )

Malalai and Sierra’s First Day Out

Unny and I decided that we needed to get them out.  Take them to the park.  Try to get them to poo somewhere else besides my Afghan rugs.  So we packed them up into my Afghan pack and rolled out.

We attempted to go to the Lumpini Park first.  No Dogs Allowed!

Next.

We head over to Suan Roe Fai (Old Rail Way) Park.  Technically no dogs allowed there either.  But we snuck them in.

We rented some bikes and tooled on over to a secluded and shaded area in the park.  I let my babies out of my backpack and watched their reaction.  I think they were in shock from the ride. They just sat there.  Scared.  Intimidated by their surroundings.  I forced the issue.  I put their leashes on and pulled them along.  Malalai wasn’t having any part of it.  I had to drag her for a bit and afterward she’d just stop and sit there.  Refusing to sally forth into new territory.  Sierra was a bit more adventurous.  She roamed around a bit.  She followed me and I didn’t need to pull her but every so often to make her move.

When we left, we placed them in the baskets and rode them back to the park entrance.  I had to lock Sierra onto the basket because she kept trying to climb out.  Malalai simply sat there and looked around until we neared the front of the park.  She started getting a little more interested at about that time.  So I held her with one hand and steered the bike with the other.

There were funny.  I laughed.  They whined.  I laughed some more.

Things I noticed.

Thai people really seem to love dogs.  Everyone pointed and talked about our pups.  Everyone was interested.  The Taxi drivers had absolutely no problem picking us up with our dogs. The ones who drove us to the parks seemed to actually enjoy having our pups along for the ride.

It was hot.

I think three crows were interested in making more than casual acquaintance with Malalai and Sierra.  I had to shoo them away twice.  I think they wanted a nice little snack.

The Red Shirts were out in force.  Don’t know if it was full force but there were a lot of them.  They were announcing over their hand held bull horns that today was not a day for Red Shirts or Yellow Shirts but a day for Democracy.  Apparently, the Reds love their King and aren’t bothered by the dichotomy of love for a King and love for Democracy.  Kind of schizo if you ask me or it may simply be that they haven’t thought through their actions to the full spiritual, emotional and political extent.  It’s their country.  I’m simply a guest.  It’s an observation.

Malalai and Sierra were or seemed to be dizzy and in calm shock for most of the trip and were exhausted afterwards.  We took them for their 2nd and 3rd car ride.  1st moto taxi ride.  1st bike ride.  1st trip to a  park.

I accidentally knocked Sierra into a creek or tributary of some sort to the Chao Phraya.  She didn’t like that too much.  I placed Malalai into the basket of my bike.  She just lay down and went to sleep.  I did the same thing with Sierra.  She moved around too much and the bike crashed to the ground.  That might be why she kept trying to climb out of the basket later.

A bird strafed Malalai while she was sleeping in the basket of the bike that I had rented for the park.  Funny but disgusting and I had to clean her.

On the way back in the taxi, both of them fell asleep on me.  Malalai on my leg.  Sierra on my shoulder.

They were cute.  It was a nice day at the park for all of us.   When we arrived back to the Condo and I let them out of my backpack, they looked around as if to say; “How’d we get back here.”  Then they took a nap.

Big day out for our Pups.  I think they enjoyed it.  I know Unny and I did.

Walking around Camp Stone on a Friday morning

Art for Unny's Bangkok Cafe

I walked over the bazaar to say a final farewell to a friend.  Hossein sells bootleg DVDs at Coalition Camps all over Herat.  I’ve run into him all over the place.  Primarily at the RTC, Camp Stone and Camp Arena.  I’ve seen him tooling around downtown Herat once or twice as well.  We struck up a friendship of sorts over the past couple of years.  So I stopped by to say farewell.

While I was doing that, I ran into the Tea Pot.  Unny wants to have a small cafe in Bangkok.  So I figured it would make a nice piece to display at such a place.  I picked it up for her.  It’s inlaid with turquoise, lapis and some kind of red stone.  I like it.  It’s a nice little piece that I think she’ll like as well.  It’s decorated with figures from Hindu and Buddhist mythology which ties in nicely with Thailand.  Garuda is front and center in the picture.

The other pics are just random shots taken as I waswalking about the bazaar area and the camp.

Somtam Mafia

Somtam trying to crawl back out of my mouth...stuff is so hot it burns your lips

Went out with the Somtam Mafia the other night.  Somtam is hot, hot, hot thai food that these girls down like a tub of ice cream.  I tried some of it and it burned my lips off.  That’s a bit of crab in my mouth.  I tried to eat it but it started crawling back out of my mouth.

After Somtam, we headed over to Soi 23 (the infamous Soi Cowboy) for beer and oysters.

Later that night, those who stuck around went to Narcissus for a bit more drinking and danced the rest of the night away…

I had a great time hanging out with Stevie and the Gals of the Somtam Mafia.