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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Justin writes on the effects of the US's War on Terror

(an edited version of one of Justin's Uni papers)
Since the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington there has been a significant shift in the focus of international relations. In the ten years between the end of the Cold War and the start of the War on Terror academics were searching for a way in which to define the nature of relationships between nation states. Samuel Huntington’s Clash of Civilisations and Francis Fukuyama’s End of History theories being the two most prominent international relation theories that were developed in this period. With the advent of globalisation global norms that have defined the nation state like the Treaties of Westphalia are currently being undermined both by the global hegemony of the United States of America and the reaction against such Imperialism that has come to be known as Islamic terrorism. The United States in its War on Terror has established a new global political paradigm for which the relationships between nation states are now being defined and analysed. The political ideology of ‘American Exceptualism’ has undermined global norms and institutions to such an extent threat that is currently a greater threat to our international peace and security than that of Islamic Fascism.

Since the signing Treaties of Westphalia in 1648 the international institution of the nation state has been at the centre of our western democratic system of governance. As a result of globalisation, our post-reformation society has been brought into conflict with the emerging states that were carved out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. This conflict has been described by Samuel Huntington as the ‘The Clash of Civilisations’ . The Campaign of Terror that has been launched by the reactionary Islamic Fascists and their associates as a response to the process of globalisation are impacting on the international legitimacy of the three norms of the state, ‘the control of territory, population and the use of force’ . The United States has inevitably become the prime target for this new wave of terrorism as it is the major contributor to the process of globalisation as the world’s pre-eminent economic, cultural and military superpower.

The most important global institutions such as International Law with its associated norms of behaviour like jus cogens have set guidelines of behaviour for nation states on matters of collective importance like terrorism . It is these global norms and institutions that the United States junta with its War on Terrorism has set about to undermine and to impose upon the world its own domestic norms and institutions . The effectivity of global norms and institutions are in direct correlation to how many nations are actively supporting their implementation .

With the biggest political entity in the world the United States effectively undermining these global norms and institutions the whole world ha s been thrust into a chaotic new global political paradigm that is reminiscent of the old wild west days of colonial North America. Without these global norms and institutions a global community of states could not exist and prosper . It is from the undermining of these global norms and institutions by the United States of America that an attempt to unilaterally impose itself hegemonically since the end of the Cold War has taken place.

With the triumph of US imperialism in its Cold War against the Soviet Union global politics has been searching for a new paradigm in which to define the state of international relations. A new global political paradigm has been found in the unipolaritic globalisation of US economic, military and cultural hegemony and in its reaction . In the post cold war period Islamic terrorism has emerged as the greatest threat to US unilateral hegemony and so it has therefore has provided the defining characteristics for our current political environment. This is a result of the reactionary nature of US Imperialism which has the tendency to define itself internationally in relation to who it is currently engaged in conflict with.

The War on Terror has been used as a legitimising excuse for the US Imperial war economy to act hegemonically against nations in the Middle East which have vast unexploited natural resources like oil . A perfect example of this lies in Iraq where the United States regime manufactured an excuse, weapons of mass destruction, to invade another nation on a false pretext in an attempt to secure much needed oil resources . Through this the War on Terror has replaced the Cold War as the prime defining excuse for US Imperialist endeavours.

for the rest of this article, click here to go to the Fighting Fathers Forum
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More from Father Elijah on Biblical authority and gender identity

I’m not home but in the beach resort of Sochi on the Black Sea. I’m using the computer of the local priest to participate in the forum.

Responding to 'Dicko':

Well, Dicko, being ‘spiritual’ and quoting texts from the Bible is not necessarily opposed to being ‘realistic’. On the contrary, if you respect the different circumstances biblical personalities were living in, you’ll find that they were often more realistic than we are today!

They had no television, computer games, commercial advertisement – and no nuclear missiles and illusions about clean wars. Searching the meaning Bible texts might help us to get back to reality and search the truth today. It seems to me that what you’re afraid of is people piously switching off their own reason when discussing the Bible – whereas they should switch it on.

Responding to Jo:

Jo said, "To me the reality here is that we are beings of depth and meaning, heart and soul and to deny that reality in our lives can lead us to search for fulfillment in some very strange and superficial ways indeed!"

Yes, and on the other hand we need the outside world to learn, to correct ourselves, and manifest the secrets that we hold inside. Man and woman meet each other on the bridge between their interior and exterior realities – and they can help each other to become more truthful – isn’t it? But I think to be really united, man and woman must not only look at each other, but also to the One that created them and gives life through them. Maybe true friendship is the best way not to become a bigot?

Responding to Stephen:

Stephen said, "The young guys who work for me are really stressed by not being able to buy a home, it impacts their self concept. Me telling them they are buying the devils deal would not be particularly helpful. Well may we sit at our computers ruminating self actualized theologically correct thoughts for posting, but people lower down Maslow's hierarchy are still focused on things like shelter in the context of their society and its values."

That’s why a fighting club with a Christian background is very useful in making young men of different intellectual capacities equal on a basic level of manhood, and teaches them to respect each other and look beyond themselves. I think until he discovers himself as mediator between God and life, no male will know himself, nor will he dare to be open to any other person he’s meeting, and therefore he won’t feel at home in his own skin.

Stephen also said, "There is another layer; power."

The balance of power in human relationships is worth a new topic…

There’s different kinds of power. First there is the power to achieve by action a goal or an objective, which seems to be typically part of the male identity. But there is also the power to attract, bind and unite, not by physical force but by attracting to a higher meaning to all actions. This power seems to be part of the female identity. A third power, typical rather of the male identity, seems to be a combination of the two: the power to attract by being an example for others to achieve a goal.

I’m writing all this, because sometimes the will to have power and dominate is only ascribed to men – which is understandable, as much of their life is spent with playing physical power games, but it’s not correct: being spiritual creatures, we are confronted not only by physical but also spiritual powers.

Responding to Narjoy:

Narjoy wrote, "Maybe its time for us as human beings to discard the idea of "masculinism vv feminism" and get back to why God created us male and female in the first place. We weren't meant to dominate one another......we were originally meant to complement each other. I see women in the workforce, with them foolishly believing that to compete with the men they need to become like a man."

I couldn’t agree more. There’s something unfair about ‘shifting the power balance’. Woman can use the legal structures and civil rights to get some domination over men, but men can never attract in the same way as women do. Maybe this is the opinion of a male chauvinist pig, but when I see men paying attention to their (supposed) beauty (like I just saw on the beach) it looks ridiculous to me and I feel disgust.

Narjoy also said, "Women now have the opportunity to ... learn traditional "male" occupations ... and as a result, many men feel threatened. I see no point in labels. But maybe it might be useful if we recognized that men and women are wonderfully different and we were meant to be that way, and instead of trying to compete with each other, try to complement each other."

I think there are two reasons why men feel threatened:

First of all, because they will never be able to attract and unite the way women do, so the arrival of women on the labour market is not founded on an equal exchange. Women gain, men loose or at least gain nothing.

The other thing is, that after all there are jobs implying risk that women will never do as men do them. In the army, for example, for women, lower achievements are required for reaching the same grade. Not only is this an injustice, but also a danger for society if things get really out of hand. And yes, I agree – complementarity is the key. But not just on a human, but also on a religious level.

OK, Narjoy, let's find the meaning, er, wisdom, of being man and woman again – on the condition that we don’t end up making silly rules because we are afraid to be free. If we (re)discover the meaning of being woman or man, we should become more free; and then, as watch life search its truth and reveal its secret, we’ll be surprised, amused, amazed... and grow wiser!
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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Alfamax wonders if Australian women are too picky?

"If a man commits adultery with the wife of an Israelite, both he and the woman shall be put to death. " (Leviticus 20:10)

It’s a good thing that we don’t live by this one anymore Leviticus 20:10, it would have detrimental effect on the worlds population!

Dave has pointed out the fact that marriage as demonstrated in western culture acts as a type of 'social thermostat' that helps prevent communities from descending into chaos whilst also being a useful instrument for stability within the home so that children may have dependability with 2 parents living together under the one roof . We can probably all agree on that I’d say. It might take a village to raise a child, but it takes a village to accommodate the needs of adults too so that they may contribute to society in some positive way.

Everyone here is fully aware that we have divorce rate close to 50% but we shouldn’t assume that the other 50% who are still together are living in married bliss. Obviously the anomie of the times is partly to blame and another question that springs to mind is what is the root cause of the adultery and the somewhat negative social norms that we have now? Did it start in the 1960s as I suggested earlier or was it on the decline way before then?

Some people have this ambivalence towards the idea of marriage now, they want it all but want to be married also, the state of being married and ones desires don’t actually fit together too well at times, as Dave pointed out people do need to adjust their expectations to realistic levels, there needs to be a balance between ones own happiness and that of the marriage union, but it is difficult to serve two masters at the same time though, this is where some amount of personal sacrifice comes into it, which is a quality that is lacking somewhat, because modern life is all about me, me, me, I , I , I.

The flip side is one that Jo touched on with simply not being able to find it within herself to initiate or get involved with a relationship. Whether it’s not being able to or being able to and not being happy with what you have, the end result is the same, that is, a general feeling of unhappiness which can and often does lead to depression.

For instance on the radio the other day I heard that in Australia in 2006 there were 20 million prescriptions filled for anti-depressant medication, given that Australia’s population is just north of that figure, it alarming to say the least, but these figures if correct can certainly go some way to be used as a basic indicator for the nations mental health and general well-being.

Dave also mentioned the expectations that each gender places on the other, this is something that most people are aware of to some degree I think and this probably has some effect on people’s anxiety when entering into a union with another, hence some just give up and try to get on with living life alone, the problem is of course is that arrangement doesn’t work out too well in the long run for most. Isolation and a feeling of alienation usually results in more isolation and loneliness. The fact is that when you cut through all of the BS, we for the most part need meaningful, healthy relationships.

Dave wrote: “We in the west tend to evaluate all institutions and relationships on the basis of how they benefit the individuals involved, rather than looking at their broader social value, and so we have little reason for maintaining the traditional institution”

I think this some of this gets back to those social norms I mentioned up above, in the west we are said to be individualists whereas in the countries like China and Japan they are the exact opposite, collectivists. this may go some way to explaining the low divorce rate of Japan at just 27% which is a far cry from the average in western countries. It’s worth mentioning also that a survey was done amongst a representative demographic in India taking 8,436 women, 22% of the marriages of this group were consanguineous - that is marriage by two people who are blood related!, it just touches on what ‘social norms’ are all about.

Dave wrote: My personal belief is that once we adjust our expectations for marriage to a realistic level, we can be liberated to appreciate our partners for all they do have to give us, rather than expecting from them what they cannot deliver.

That’s the hard part these days because of the ubiquitous lies that are generated by different individual members and institutions within society with regards to marriage etc. To make an obvious statement society is hugely fragmented right to the point where I believe its becoming dysfunctional and beyond repair, a huge catalyst of some kind is needed but that might be wishful thinking. As I say, one thing affects another and one person cannot live unaided in some way by one’s self indefinitely. There are no happy, healthy people without some sort of cohesive functioning community but there is no sense of community without happily attached or married people, question is which comes first?