Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chuck Hagel, Defense Secretary Redundancy, and Obama’s Leadership

            With Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta retiring this year, his post is yet another Cabinet position which President Obama must refill for his second term.  Obama’s choice, former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, has begun his confirmation hearing this week and his statements illustrate a disappointing trend in the President Obama’s leadership methods and style.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Iranian War

It is becoming increasingly hard to go three days without reading an article or seeing a news segment concerning Israel, Iran, and the possibility of a new Middle Eastern war for the United States.  The cause of this conflict is Iran’s burgeoning nuclear program and it government’s repeated threats and innuendos that Israel has no right to existence; something the Israeli government is not very agreeable with.  It is believed that Israel will attack Iran in one form or another, with or without American aid.  While many decry the possibility of another American war in the region—fittingly in the nation between the United States’ other two conflict zones—there is reason to believe that such a military involvement may turn out better than expected.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

National Interest or Self-Determination?

            The history of the United States’ involvement in the political affairs of foreign nations is not an exceptionally long one.  For the first one hundred thirty years of American history, the nation largely kept to itself on the international stage; a policy known as isolationism.  The reasons for this self-induced isolation are multiple.  On one hand, the nation followed George Washington’s advice to avoid foreign entanglements, while on another the country had a literal ocean between it and the hotbed of political activity at the time—Europe.  Once the United States truly stepped onto the global stage in the aftermath of World War One, the nation’s outlook on foreign involvement began to evolve, culminating in the present-day struggle between national interest and self-determination. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guns, the N.R.A. and Domestic Mutually Assured Destruction

             As shooting deaths continue to compile since the Newtown tragedy, the debate over gun control rages on, nearly encompassing every aspect of American society.  While both sides have their points, the argument of the National Rifle Association’s chief executive officer, Wayne LaPierre, that “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” sounds awfully familiar to a policy employed by the United States during the Cold War—with success—but is generally looked unfavorably upon.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Instances of Space-Time Compression

            The concept of space-time compression has been of vital importance both to the trend of globalization and the emergence of what can be considered as global history.  This compression refers to increase in the spread of information across large areas in a speedy manner.  The spread of information—be it news events or intellectual thought—is a prominent and key factor in the integration of the modern world, an integration integral to global history.  The speed at which this information travels across borders, both political and geographic, has played a large role in this integration; this speed has not been constant throughout history, however.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Buck Stops Somewhere Else

            Personal responsibility is dead.  Long live personal responsibility!
            I cannot speak for other nations, but America suffers from a debilitating lack of ability to take responsibility for its own failures and faults.  Every time something bad happens, all involved parties shift the blame to the other parties, yet when something goes right all parties claim the success for themselves. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Worst Acts in Presidential History

            The United States of America has had forty-four presidents over its two hundred twenty-four year history.  Some have been great—George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Roosevelt come to mind—while others have been very forgettable, such as Millard Fillmore, William Harrison, and Gerald Ford.  Despite having some presidential duds, America has been blessed the good fortune of never having a truly bad president.  This does not mean, however, that American presidents have never made bad decisions.  This is a listing of some of the worst policy decisions in the history of the American executive branch, in order from least egregious to most.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Assault Weapons Ban and the Second Amendment

            Interpreting the Constitution has long been a hallmark of American society and in the aftermath of the numerous gun-related tragedies over the past two years, one particular aspect of the document has found itself under intense scrutiny.  The Second Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights ratified in 1791, protects the right of private citizens to possess arms, although its language causes confusion and strife in today’s society.  While it is tempting to attack the amendment, one must be careful when scrutinizing any constitutional amendment, taking into account the language, the original impetus and modern interpretations via court cases.