Thursday, July 20, 2006

Open Thread for Current Events

Here's the post for Thursday...


  1. After visiting Afghanistan NATO officials have warned the international community not to neglect the country.

    I definitely agree with the above statement. It is important to ensure that a sufficient number of troops are deployed to the area. This past year has been the deadliest since 2001, and it is believed the Taliban is making a resurgence. I think the war in Iraq is taking away from our efforts in Afghanistan. NATO forces hope to increase their presence in the country to 21,000. I think it is great that NATO troops are being sent to Afghanistan but I believe the U.S. should still maintain a strong presence in the area. In my opinion the war in Afghanistan was much more important than Iraq and it is the United State’s responsibility to make sure a regime that supports terrorism does not come to power in the country. More troops would help ensure the safety of American troops already there and help successfully complete our mission there.

  2. The Turkish people are becoming increasingly disappointed with the United States according to Abdullah Gul, the Foreign Minister of Turkey. This rising anti-US sentiment has largely come from our support of Israel in their conflict with Lebanon. He also said that Turkey would have to react if the US continues to do nothing about the PKK, a Turkish-Kurdish rebel group that is operating out of Iraq. I can absolutely see where Turkey is coming from on these two issues and I am concerned about what will happen when we lose their support, completely. Mr. Gul states that there is a large group of educated, young Turks that do not like the US. What worries me is that these are the people that will, potentially, have power in the future. If we turn them away from us now—what will happen in the future?

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  4. Ethiopian troops were seen entering Somalia in with a hundred armored trucks. Ethiopia denies the fact that troops ever entered Somalia.

    It is strange that the two sides are disagreeing on a basic fact that anyone can see with their eyes. I don’t know which side to believe. Ethiopia would definitely gain from taking over Somalia as the country is weak and is on a crucial part of the African coast. Ethiopia is trying to become a regional hegemon. Will it gain any power by conquering Somalia or will it crumble over having to take care of so much land?

    Nick – people are already criticizing Rumsfeld for sending too many troops into Iraq. They do not want to see more troops go into the Middle East. If we were to aid Afghanistan we would probable have to take troops out of Iraq, a price we cannot afford right now.

    Allysa – Is the Turkish government against America as well?

    P.S. A former porn star is running for Governor of Nevada. She is basing her campaign on more education for everyone. What a joke.

  5. Kofi Annan, secretary general of the UN, called for a cease-fire between - guess who - Israel and Lebanon. He said that the hostilities needed to stop so long term peace could be worked on between the countries.

    This is a great move by Mr. Annan. Somebody needed to come out and try to put a stop to the mayhem. However, I am not sure how effective these comments will be. The UN doesn't demand very much respect these days, and the ambassador of Israel said, "the three key elements of this were not addressed — terror, Syria and Iran. Without addressing terror, there will be no cessation of hostilities." Most people in the UN agree it is adamant that Hezbollah give up the hostages before talks begin. This means that it will take some time and negotiating to bring peace, but hopefully it's way.

  6. Lila-
    I think you're overreacting to a situation that probably won't amount to anything. Even if Ethiopian troops were entering Somalia, I would bet my '94 Jetta they're not going to take it over any time soon.

  7. Alyssa-
    Even if those people don't have power in the future, someday we may have to worry about terrorists coming from Turkey.

  8. This is a follow up on the post I left yesterday. In the Somalian conflict, ethiopian troops have been spotted in the town of Baidoa, where the interim government is located. They say they will use whatever force necessary to crush the UIC if they try and attack. The UIC says it has no plans to attack the government.

    This situation seems to be getting a little more out of control. The UIC said it wasn't going to attack and even moved its troops back from the town, but it seems that the Somalian president doesn't believe them. THe Ethiopians have helped them before, by crushing another Islamic uprising in the 1990's. The Islamists have even sent a peace envoy to Sudan for peace talks, but they are just waiting there. Its seems that the if they want peace why don't you give it to them, and everyone sleeps a little better at night. The Somalian government is convinced that the UIC will attack and I think they intend on crushing them. I would leave well enough alone, but this situation has the potential to spiral out of control very quickly.

    Your thoughts you guys??

  9. President Bush tried today to strengthen his party's ties to black voters. He stated that racism still lingers today and urged the Senate to extend the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Senate did just that voting 98-0. What was interesting is further in the article Bush advocated re-uniting with the black race. Bush feels that African-Americans do not trust his Republican party and blah blah blah. One quote from him was this, "save America one soul and one heart at a time." It seems quite clear to me why people can't trust Bush. Why are we still fighting in Iraq? Where was Bush during New Orleans? I wonder why many African Americans don't trust him. What good has he done for them, besides failing to come to their aid.

  10. Lila,

    I don't think we should be in Iraq in the first place but I'll save that for another day. Although, now that we are in both Iraq and Afghanistan we need to complete the mission there. Thousands of U.S. soldiers have died in the war on terrorism and it would be an injustice to not only them but also us as Americans to simply sit back with idle hands and not utilize our resources to ensure their safety and security. There are over 2.9 million people in the US military so we have the manpower to send more to Afghanistan. I think what we really cannot afford is to let our soldiers down by not giving them the resources they need.

  11. Officials from Iran and Iraq have adopted a cooperation-protocol that will allow for better trade between the two nations.

    In the context of our discussion in class today, this is good news. Any action to increase trade will help rope both countries into the globilized world, which will, hopefully, make war less appealing for both the governments and the people. It is also encouraging that the Iraqi government is not as useless as the media portrays it, and that it is performing some of the functions of a government. I see only good things coming from this agreement...

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  14. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

    Israel definitely had the right to defend itself, its border, and its soldiers. However, its use of extreme force against the infrastructure of Lebanon seems just a little bit excessive, don't you think? I really doubt that the dozens of civilians dying in Beirut had much to do with the Hezbollah attacks. Perhaps a cease-fire would be helpful and allow both parties to cool down. However, the UN can't just stop with a simple suggestion. Real, permanent changes need to be made on both sides, so that this can be effective. If the liberalism idea of foreign relations works and transnational organizations like the UN can be effective actors, than this will be a good opportunity for that to be happen. I'll have my fingers crossed.

  15. Spicy chicken7/20/06, 7:58 PM

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  17. Like Sovita I decided to look at a story that was not directly related to terrorism.

    In India the National Aids Control Organisation is pushing the government to rethink its stance on gay relationships. I think it intruiging that this organisation would like it to be acceptable for homosexuals to show affection in public when it is not even acceptable for heterosexual married couples to show affection in public. This measure also comes at a time when the Indian tv company that is airing the Indian version of "Big Brother" is having to ask its participants to "keep their hands to themselves" ( While I agree with the Aids Organisation that by making it illegal to participate in gay sex is driving homosexuals underground which is giving them more oppourtunities to contract aids I think that there are other ways to help educate homosexuals so that aids is not spread so fast. Just because more homosexuals are contracting aids does not mean that they should be able to show affection in public when even homosexuals are not aloud to.

  18. Wow good job on all your topics tonight everyone, what an eclectic variety of topics.

    Nick- Don't you think our troops are over stretched enough? How do you propose we troops in there when there seems to be an extreme shortage of troops right now? I'm not saying that I don't agree that we should keep troops in Afghanistan to keep the country out of the hands of terrorists it just seems that it is impossible to send more troops in at the moment.

    Simone: Is it as easy as just "giving" them peace? It seems to me that there must be some underlying causes.

    Have a great night everyone!

  19. Amazing how many burgeoning issues there are. If we were to take an informal poll, how many people on campus would know that there are issues involving Ethiopia and Somalia? New conflicts in Afghanistan? Sovita's verbal attacks against avian populations?

    Alyssa's article on Turkey is worth keeping in mind for next week when we will ask why the US is hated.

    Nice catch on the bilateral trade between Iran and Iraq, Rosie. That one does fit the discussion from earlier today.

    Did anyone hear about Bush giving an impromptu back rub to Merkel? Bizarre...

    Good work, y'all!

  20. emma,
    good point, I know its not that easy, but the UIC are withdrawing their troops, and actively seeking peace and i think just want to govern the southern portion of Somalia. obviously, there are many other issues, but over all peace seems very plausible.

  21. Turkey is having some problems. Apparently anti-American and anti-EU feelings are growing. Many Turks dont agree with US support of Israel and that Kurdish rebels are allowed to attack Turkey from Iraq. This could be a difficult problem to solve, but US officials warn Turkey not to attack northern Iraq. The Kurdish rebels have been fighting for many years over independence, while Turkey is looking out for state security. In some ways this is very similar to Israel dealing with Hezbollah, but since the Kurdish situation involves the US and Iraq, Turkey cant do anything. Turkey has been a longtime ally of the US and supporter of the EU, so any hostilites would not be the best thing at this time. This shows a growing rift between the west and middle east, as the EU and US continue to have an active say in the region. What would happen if Turkey invaded Iraq? Would there be retaliation from either the US or EU? Think about it.

  22. charlie - i don't think that Turkey would attack Iraq any time soon, especially with US troop presence there. The consequences would be catastrophic for Turkey, because I don't doubt for a minute that the US would intervene to protect our little Middle Eastern "beacon of democracy".