Political Thoughts

Washington continues to meddle in countries and create chaos, from Ukraine to Syria. How about keeping that money here at home? How about building or fixing bridges? In the U.S., some roads are so bad people should wear helmets in their cars; it’s like riding in a Dune Buggy. And Washington is sending more tax dollars abroad. It would be different if it were multilateral aid and went to helping people, but much of it goes to sow death and destruction.

U.S. tax dollars have gone to support Daesh (ISIS).  The U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have been arming, for some time now, what they call “moderate rebels.” Many of these rebels joined Daesh.

In the 1980’s the CIA armed the Mujahideen in Afghanistan; yes, they gave Bin Laden a big push start.  The Pakistani ISI played intermediary, so he didn’t know his support was coming from Washington; he thought it was coming from independent Arab money. But a lot of people know that by now, so why does Washington continue to make the same mistakes? Can they not stop their greed? Do they have a lust for blood? What is wrong with these people in power? Most should be aware that it was the CIA that worked to radicalize the madrassas in Afghanistan, to get the Muslims out in the provinces all excited about fighting the very popular socialist government in Kabul and the “Soviet infidels.”

The Israel lobby’s lock on Washington has a lot to do with the insane Middle East policy. Is it any wonder why Washington targeted Assad? As George Galloway pointed out, Syria was one of the few Arab countries that didn’t have Mossad agents crawling everywhere. In recent years, the U.S. has worked to overthrow secular autocratic leaders in Libya and Iraq and replaced them with chaos and radicalism. They tried to do the same in Syria and created chaos, but will be unsuccessful in toppling Assad. That’s not to mention fourteen years in Afghanistan and strikes against Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. What a mess.

Then one takes a look at the Gulf states– US allies, which are little family run oil kingdoms. Talk about undemocratic. At one point, Kuwait had something like 26 members of the same family in their cabinet. The Bahraini government mowed down peaceful protesters and prevented them from accessing the hospital, while the U.S. 5th Fleet stood by and watched.  Saudi Arabia and Qatar are in the U.S  coalition to fight for “democracy” in Syria? This is a farce, but so is American politics– for example, the election with Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Trump sounds like a fascist– wanting to build a wall, deport 11 million people, and implement a database to track people of certain religious faiths– and Carson looks like he is on tranquilizers. And these are the Republican frontrunners.

I don’t even have a desire to teach politics in an American university anymore; I’m great with staying with software development. I think every Political Science Department from every university in the U.S. could be cut and there would be no difference and maybe an improvement. It’s a waste of time for students, in my opinion. It’s more propaganda than anything. Students would be better equipped by studying history, but not of the revisionist variety, and political philosophy in the Philosophy Department. There is absolutely nothing scientific about political science. It’s amazing to look at some of the people in the revolving door between government and academia in this country, for example, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and Madeleine Albright. These are bonified war criminals. Of course, students interested in becoming administrators could take public administration courses.

One might object, “But I want to study political science so I can enter politics.” For the most part, all one needs is money to enter the political arena (and be successful) in the United States. If Donald Trump doesn’t prove that true,  I don’t know what would. It will also help greatly if an aspiring politician has no core values and does what the big donors want while simultaneously giving lip service to issues important to the working masses. Therefore,  we can take someone sitting at a bus stop who is literate and has a decent image and as long as we have two million dollars to spare, we can probably get the person elected to Congress. High School students, if they pay attention, learn about the three branches of government– but their textbook won’t mention the reality of the U.S. Congress and the White House being owned by Wall Street. Anyway, the best education is a passport and a library card.

International Relations, as an academic discipline, began in Wales, primarily to study the causes of World War I and to prevent war in the future. That was a good idea. As a stand alone department, I think International Relations has its merits and is quite beneficial to study, but I would recommend studying IR in Europe and not in the U.S. Over the years, theories evolved and in the U.S. it  just became ridiculous with the “realism” and the “liberalism.” These are not theories rather ideologies used to promote American imperialism and they really don’t explain anything in their simplistic reasoning.

I could write a substantial amount on American Political Science and why it, in its current form, does more harm than good in our educational system. But there are a lot of things wrong with the educational system. I’ll save that for another time. I think I took one Political Science course during my undergraduate years. I majored in Theology followed by Religious Studies and was a passionate student activist, and moved on to Diplomacy and International Relations in grad school.

I’d like to think that a lot of my American brothers and sisters know what’s going on, but many may just feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. What are people going to do in the face of illegal invasions, arming terrorists, corruption, massive spying programs, and war crimes? I (along with many others) have done a lot of protesting, speaking, writing, and organizing. We do what we can and then have faith that God takes care of the rest.

Nevertheless, there is reason to hope. The Russians just installed the S-400 (Growler) defensive missile system in Syria, subsequent to the downing of their fighter jet. That effectively seals the skies over Syria and into neighboring countries. Somebody has to stand up to Washington’s madness for the good of the world and, frankly, for the good of the United States too. With Washington’s imperialistic behavior, a multipolar world is a safer world for everyone. After the mess that Washington created in the region (and beyond), I don’t see how any sane and moral person, who is paying attention, could have an ounce of trust in U.S. policy.

Education vs. Indoctrination in American Political Science Education

Noam Chomksy once said, “Get educated and I don’t mean go to school.” I recently went to work at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, on a one semester contract, to educate students in political science and international relations. Whether consciously or unconsciously, the overarching powers do not want to educate students, but rather to indoctrinate them and turn them into debt-ridden obedient workers. How does this relate to the role of a university professor in political science?

If you have tenure you can teach how you see fit on a long-term basis. Well, how does a  professor get tenure in the U.S? The famous psychologist Carl Rogers answered this question through his own experience:

I have often been grateful that I have never had to live through the frequently degrading competitive process of step-by-step promotion in university faculties, where individuals so frequently learn only one lesson – not to stick their necks out.

The operative phrase here is not to stick their necks out. Just as in politics, academics in political science are often weeded out by separating the ones who keep quiet on the most important moral and legal issues of our time and the ones that don’t, with the latter often being shown the door. Yes, there are some excellent professors in my field– let me put that out there so as not to offend those who are doing their jobs well, including some excellent human beings that I know personally. However, more often than not, if you ask a political scientist who is truly focused on educating students, you’ll likely hear that they feel they have to conceal truthful information in a wrapper and tip-toe around difficult issues. Some will say it is because this is a proper pedagogical method, letting students come to the information themselves. However, while this is good practice– since teaching is an art as well as a craft– what I have seen, far too often, is not a process of gently presenting students with sensitive material in a pedagogically sound manner, rather academics ignoring sensitive topics all together! There are at least two reasons why American students are not fully educated in political science and international relations.

1) Many political science professors and instructors went through the same American academic system in which they are working and are fully indoctrinated themselves.

2) Some academics in this field have a true commitment to educating students, but concerns for their employment cause them to walk on egg shells. They don’t want students to complain, nor do they want to catch the negative attention of the university administration– which is a big business entity as well as an educational institution. However, these types of academics tell themselves that their students are getting the material that is concealed in a carefully crafted wrapper– as if it is a subliminal message. One needs to take a good hard look at the general level of knowledge of American university students. It is poor, and it often sinks to embarrassing levels of ignorance. I’ve had university students that would still be stuck in eighth grade in many Western European countries. Many American college and university students have not had sufficient training in critical thinking, have only been taught revisionist history, and largely been exposed to biased, corporate news media coverage. How then are they to suddenly absorb and integrate such extremely subtle information that you, Mr. and  Mrs. Political Science Professor, think is given in such a pedagogically sound manner?

If you think everything is fine and dandy and the United States is a shining light on the hill, you are surely free to think as you like– but maybe it’s just because you never were allowed the opportunity to see a different perspective or a real history of your country. It is highly unlikely that you would see this other perspective in an American university– unless you find yourself in a class that I teach or in a class with someone else who has an equally bold commitment to truly educating students. This is a viewpoint and a lens with which much of the world views the United States. The good news is that this information is readily available to you if you desire it. In the words of Malcolm X, “I am not anti-American, the truth is anti-American. So don’t blame me, blame the truth.”

La vie est belle, profitez de chaque moment