THE EUROPEAN UNION WAS BORN OUT OF WORLD WAR TWO ON THE 25/MARCH/ 1957 TEN YEARS AFTER IT ENDED TO CHAMPION PEACE.
By establishing a unified economic and monetary system, to promote inclusion and combat discrimination, to break down barriers to trade and borders, to encourage technological and scientific developments, to champion environmental protection.
Fifty-two years later even as it adapts to meet the evolving challenges of the modern world, with all its faults, it has delivery just that- Peace.
Let us all remember the price the world paid to agree with these shared values.
The lessons of World War II — on whose ashes the United Nations was also founded emphasizing that remembrance is a debt owed to those who had lost their lives in World War II.
(By the end of the war, the total deaths ranging from 70 million to 85 million. Civilians deaths totalled 50 to 55 million. Military deaths from all causes totalled 21 to 25 million.)
However, the ideals and spirit that inspired the creation of the United Nations and the EU remain to be transformed into reality.
It is still necessary to remember the causes and overcome the legacies of the Second World War.
To reject and condemn any attempts to rewrite history or undertake attempts to glorify Nazism or any type of fascism.
Today, tolerance and restraint continued to be considered in world policy as signs of weakness and the use of violence and sanctions were praised; the world could therefore not say that the Second World War had been properly remembered.
Indeed it is our duty to revere and preserve and reform both the United Nations and the European Union because too much was paid for them, and too much is now at stake for succeeding generations.
So here below for all the Donald Trumps, Brexiteers, and Populous is a Speech that tells the TRUTH.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.
Most mainstream textbooks have the word “economics” in their title as if no differentiating adjective exists.
THE NASTY REALITY IS:
AS THE WORLD POPULATION GROWS IT WILL BE TO THE DETHRONEMENT OF THE PLANT AND TO THE SUSTAINABILITY OF ANY ECONOMIC SYSTEM WHETHER IT IS CAPITALIST OR OTHERWISE AS CAPITALISM HAS ALWAYS HAD A NEED FOR POVERTY TO KEEP COST DOWN.
However, through social media, the poor are no longer invisible and the consequences of this are now beginning to becoming evident.
It is a grim truism of modern life that everything from civil rights violations and health crises to environmental degradation and educational barriers are disproportionately suffered by the people least financially and socially equipped to deal with them.
Capitalism today still represented itself as freeing serfs, slaves, etc, with freedom becoming capitalism’s self-celebration, which it largely remains today.
Yet the reality of capitalism is different from its celebratory self-image.
IT IS NOW a form of algorithmic trading in which funds trade on the small fluctuations in asset prices without ever owning the assets, with us the powerhouse in the making of fortunes that put colossal resources in the hands of a relative few, while at the same time, see others without even the means to sustain themselves.
Combined the above with climate change and poverty and THE FORTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION (AS IT HAS BEEN CHRISTENED BY THE ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGICAL) IS CREATING A CAPITALIST WORLD THAT IS REMOVING IT FROM VIEW.
DRIVEN BY CONSUMPTION PRODUCING ALGORITHMS JUST FOR PROFIT FOR THE ONE PERCENTERS, WHILE OUR GOVERNMENTS ACT LIKE THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TO GROWTH AT ALL COSTS.
Wherever you look you will see that enormous gap between rich and poor growing and this gap between rich and poor is now threatening to destroy us and the world we all live in.
To those who think capitalism and inequality need each other.
Capitalism requires inequality of wealth, runs this right-of-centre argument, to stimulate risk-taking and effort; governments trying to stem it with taxes on wealth, capital, inheritance and property kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
It took war and depression to arrest the inequality dynamic, along with the need to introduce high taxes on high incomes, especially unearned incomes, to sustain social peace.
Now the ineluctable process of blind capital multiplying faster in fewer hands is underway again and on a global scale with self-serving greed in the form of profit-seeking algorithms.
Anyone with the capacity to own in an era when the returns exceed those of wages and output will quickly become disproportionately and progressively richer- APPLE, MICROSOFT, E BAY, AMAZON- and when we buy their products online are in fact vote for them and their system.
The mass of employees are not free inside capitalist enterprises to participate in the decisions that affect their lives (e.g., what the enterprise will produce, what technology it will use, where production will occur, and what will be done with the profit workers’ efforts help to produce). In their exclusion from such decisions, modern capitalism’s employees resemble slaves and serfs.
So the speeding train of capitalism is “back on track,” resuming its rush toward stone walls of excess debt, stagnant mass incomes, capital relocating overseas, etc.
YOU CAN WATCH THIS PROCESS IN REAL TIME WITH BREXIT, OR AMERICA FIRST.
In Britain, it may be true that the top 1% pays a third of all income tax, but income tax constitutes only 25% of all tax revenue: 45% comes from VAT, excise duties and national insurance paid by the mass of the population.
As a result, the burden of paying for public goods such as education, health and housing is increasingly shouldered by average taxpayers, who don’t have the wherewithal to sustain them. Wealth inequality thus becomes a recipe for slowing, innovation-averse, rentier economies, tougher working conditions and degraded public services.
All in all, you could say that no real changes have been made in global capitalism OTHER THAN IT IS NOW RUN BY ANALYSING ALGORITHMS THAT RECOMMEND WHERE, WHEN AND HOW WITH TO SATISFY SHORT TERM PLEASURE.
UNFORTUNILTY it is simply depriving us and our children of fundamental rights of a decent & caring society, fearless & dignified living, by a deprivation of the material conditions for the reproduction of society, and a failure to develop the full capabilities of human beings.
OF COURSE, our collective sense of justice is outraged as we are witnessing in the recent Paris Riots, the Climate Change Conference in Poland sponsored by coal trying to set rules to govern pledges that will be broken as soon as the ink dries and the ongoing Brexit charade which has nothing to do with peoples wellbeing.
Where does all of this leave us other than with an ominous sense of impending implosion reverberates throughout the world with national politics and culture waning no one seems to know or care.
Our TV screens with Christmas coming we are bombarded with the worst images of Capitalism – advertisers promoting materialism, alongside appeals to donate money to save everything from children in Yemen too abandoned animals.
While it is heartbreaking the worst part is that our governments are complicit.
Despite the famine, despite the bombing of a busload of school kids in Yemen countrieslike the US, UK, France, and Canada are still supplying the Saudis with hundreds of billions of dollars in tanks and missiles.
However, it has little effect as we look on from a distance sitting at home before our own little stages our TV’s, our I Pads, our Smartphones, our courtyards of miracles where an image sweeps across the previous one without trace.
Everything is on a reduced scale, even emotions.
That’s the trouble with shadow political power structures. Their true shape and purpose stay hidden while they capture democracy.
From all this, we shall draw some conclusions, in the absence of any convincing certainties one has to pretend that we shall solve Climate Change (that is going to drive more inequality and eventually the extinction of our biodiversity, followed by us due to the lack of fresh water or clean air.) and currents world conflicts that are only the tip of the coming wars over diminishing natural resources.
What needs to happen?
Let’s put the plant first before space exploration, before material productivity consumption, before cultural identity, before consumerism, before America first, before Brexit isolation, before trade deals, before nuclear power, before religious beliefs, before skin colour, before short-term pleasure, before us.
Let’s go for a diverse economic system where toxic wealth inequalities are less indulged rather than a monopolised marketplace.
Let’s enshrine Water and Fresh air into all our actions.
Any of the above can now only be achieved by using the power of Social media which is being used in ways that shape politics, business, world culture, education, careers, innovation, and more.
THE PROBLEM WITH SOCIAL MEDIA THAT IS HAVING A REAL IMPACT ON SOCIETY IS THAT IT IS LEADERLESS.
On one hand, it generates insights, stimulates demand, and create targeted product offerings but when people are presented with the option of ‘liking’ a social cause, they use this to opt out of actually committing time and money.
Social sharing has encouraged people to use computers and mobile phones to express their concerns on social issues without actually having to engage actively with campaigns in real life.
On the other hand, it without social media, social, ethical, environmental and political ills would have minimal visibility.
Increased visibility of issues has shifted the balance of power from the hands of a few to the masses.
Capitalism understands the above more than our world organisation or governments.
Social networks feed off interactions among people, they become more powerful as they grow. Each person with marginal views can see that he’s not alone. And when these people find one another via social media, they can do things — create memes, publications and entire online worlds that bolster their worldview, and then break into the mainstream.
Social networks are helping to fundamentally rewire human society.” Because social media allows people to communicate with one another more freely, they are helping to create surprisingly influential social organizations among once-marginalized groups – Popularism- Short-term politics with no long-term aspirations promoting social ills.
Across the globe, mobile devices dominate in terms of total minutes spent online. This puts the means to connect anywhere, at any time on any device in everyone’s hands.
Their support is limited to pressing the ‘Like’ button or sharing content.
Is it not time that we demand that our internet platforms introduce a dislike button.
So far humans have had a monopoly on decision making but we are sleepwalking with Data Analyzing algorithms eroding our societies that have the sole purpose of predicting our next purchase or move.
Artificial intelligence in its current form is mostly harmless but that’s not going to last.
Fueled by powers of machine learning with no end in sight it is encroaching into to our homes without human examples or guidance, without any knowledge of the domain beyond basic rules of promoting profit.
WHAT IF ANYTHING CAN BE DONE?
We need to ensure that Ai Systems are provable safe and beneficial, and unbias regardless of how intelligent they become.
Imagine the havoc and harm they will inflict with greater power, scope and social reach.
When developers are at a loss to explain the behaviour of their creations we will then need Ai to explain to humans why they reached certain decisions, or what their conclusions actually mean.
At the moment we are seeing poorly thought out systems released into the world without any real ethical or safety standards. Governments and our out of date international world organisation have a role to play, by introducing and enforcing standards and regulations.
Changing present capitalist corporate culture won’t be easy, but it needs to start at the top.
Just look at biotechnology some research findings are too dangerous to share with the public.
It is time we all grew up and accept some responsibility for Artifical Intelligence impact on the world.
Because AI is poised to be one of the most daunting challenges our species have ever faced, decoupling us from human speed and timelines, operating beyond human levels of control and comprehension.
AT THE MOMENT IT IS RATHER THAN TURNING THE ATHOMISPHRIC DOWN IT IS CONTRIBUTING (IN MOST OF ITS FORM) TO TURN IT UP.
On a deeper level, the idea of self-referential feedback may be crucial not only in the evolution of life but for its origin as well.
It may even be that the algorithmic nature of cellular automata could be the key to removing a major barrier to explaining life’s origin — defining what life is, to begin with.
It’s pretty hard to explain the origin of something if you don’t know what it is.
When the environment changes, the rules for surviving may change as well. Life’s activity generates feedback that influences the rules of life.
You can’t blame scientists for conceiving of the universe in terms familiar from their everyday life. That’s just the way that thinking works, whether it’s about the laws of nature or anything else. And you have to admit that nowadays computers have invaded everyday life so thoroughly that it’s only natural for scientists to think about nature in a computational way.
If the world is a computer, life is an algorithm, so all algorithms and how they
work, and for what reasons, should be made public to ensure both social and
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
You don’t need me to tell you that we are living through an era of tremendous transition and disruption and whether or not we are comfortable with AI may already be moot:
HOWEVER, THE THREE BIGGEST PROBLEMS FACING THE WORLD CLIMATE CHANGE, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THE FORM OF PROFIT SEEKING ALGORITHMS, AND NUCLEAR WAR REMAIN VIRTUALLY IGNORED DUE TO OUR STUPIDITY.
NONE OF THESE PROBLEMS CAN BE SOLVED BY ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE OR ON A NATION BY NATION APPROACH.
THEY ARE GLOBAL AND NEED GLOBAL COOPERATION TO BE SOLVED.
IT MAY BE HARD TO BUY INTO THESE PROBLEMS AFTER HAVING GROWING UP IN THE ERA OF INDUSTRY BUT UNFORTUNATELY GOVERNMENTS, WORLD INSTITUTIONS, AND BUSINESS AND US WILL FIND OURSELVES AT THE HELM OF THE PAST IF WE PERSIST WITH THE BELIEF THAT ECONOMIES, CONSUMPTION, AND PROFIT IS THE HOLY GRAIL OF OUR EXISTENCE.
Unfortunately, human stupidity is perhaps the most powerful force humanity has at its disposal to combat the direction we are going to- Extinction.
WHEN IT COMES TO IDENTIFYING ITS EFFECTS THERE IS NO PROBLEM FINDING EXAMPLES IN THE PAST.
WE ARE NOW TRANSFERRING STUPITY INTO THE FUTURE IN THE FORM OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE THAT NO ONE UNDERSTANDS OR WILL BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND.
Remembering that there are no defenses against stupidity. The more pertinent question now is whether we can and ought to build trust in systems that can make decisions beyond human oversight that may have irreversible consequences.
In the internet era, technology is changing at an alarming rate. We, humans, are becoming increasingly reliant on the World Wide Web. This is leading to a decrease in the retention capacity of the human brain and an overall downfall in the intelligence quotient of Homo sapiens.
The only way a society can avoid being crushed by the burden of its idiots is if the non-stupid work even harder to offset the losses of their stupid brethren.
If we take a critical look at the three global problems starting with the current global position on climate change:
Reduce carbon emissions on a national promises bases – stupid.
The bottom line is, take action to cool your planet or the planet will take action and cool your life – forever.
The development of AI:
Turn a blind eye by continuing to feed human existence data into algorithms for profit and power thus concentrating both into the hands of a few Clouds- stupid.
Elect Facebook and Twitter leaders, while Social media feeds us personal recommendations and false News- stupid.
IS IT TIME TO GET OUR HEAD OUT OF THE SAND AND DEMAND SOME GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE TO TACKLE THE GLOBAL PROBLEMS.
RATHER THAN TRADE WARS, PROMISES, NATIONAL ASPIRATIONS, PROFIT FOR PROFIT SAKE, WARS, INEQUALITY, WE COULD LOOK AFTER EACH OTHER AND THE EARTH WE ALL LIVE ON BY ENSURING THE AI SERVES US ALL EQUALLY NOT THE FEW.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
BUT VERY FEW OF US KNOW WHAT IT IS WHERE IT IS OR WHAT WE ARE DOING ON IT OR TO IT.
IT IS 6.378KM IN RADIUS, 6.6 SEXTILLION TONS IN WEIGHT, WITH A SURFACE AREA OF 197 MILLION SQ MILES MADE UP OF 71% WATER, 29% LAND OF WHICH 5% IS LIVABLE ON.
IT IS 4.54 billion years old, plus or minus 1%.
We humans speaking 7, O97 LANGUAGES of which 23 accounts for half the world’s population has been on it for a mere 0.004% of the Earth’s history.
IT HAS 15,000 BIRTHS PER HOUR. 360,000 PER DAY, 132 MILLION PER YEAR WITH 56 MILLION DEATH PER YEAR.
IT HAS 10.7 percent LIVING IN EXTREME POVERTY WITH 68.5 MILLION DISPLACE PEOPLE, OF WHICH 25.4 million are refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18 with 1% OF RICH PEOPLE owning half the world’s wealth.
IT IS THE 5TH LARGEST PLANET IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM WITH ABOUT 10 BILLION WITH TONS OF CONCRETE POURED ON IT EVERY YEAR.
3% OF THE WORLD IS COVERED IN URBAN AREAS WITH 33 BILLION METERS OF ROADS.
After water concrete is the single most widely used material in the world – and it has a carbon footprint to match.
As you read this, there are more than 40 conflicts unfolding in countries around the world. Yet these are just the most visible look beyond them and there are plenty more.
Total world military expenditure rose to $1739 billion in 2017.
We can blame terrorism and the fear it inspires despite the statistically unimportant number of casualties it inflicts, or the contemporary media and the breathless cycle of “breaking news”, but the truth remains that the wars that seem to inspire the fanatics or have produced so many headlines in recent years prompt deep anxiety.
And with climate change and profit-seeking algorithms things are only going to get worse.
Surely the needs of humanity should always come first. While there are people on Earth who need help, they should be helped, rather than seeing money spent on sending robots onto other planets. Humanity is the number one priority; keeping the human race alive is a necessity.
But we cannot live without the other species we share the earth with. Okay, guess quickly: how many species do you think we share the earth with.
While that may (or may not) be true, the next sentence is spuriously precise: “Every hour three species disappear. Every day up to 150 species are lost.”
Even putting aside the apparent mathematical error in that claim (on the face of it, if three species are disappearing every hour, 72 would be lost every day) there is an obvious problem in generating any such number. No-one knows how many species exist. And if we don’t know a species exists, we won’t miss it when it’s gone.
BP claimed the earth has enough oil left for about 53 more years at current production levels
So far Nasa has spent trillions on trying to get off it.
Science may well give us good things.
We all know Velcro came from NASA.
But why bother spending all this money exploring space and finding out there was water on Mars at some point in the last few thousand years (we have water in Earth) when these same great minds could be applied to finding better ways to power humanity’s insatiable desire for energy, to feeding the starving millions around the globe, and generally making life down here better before looking up into the heavens.
It seems the authoritative powers have their heads way, way up in the clouds.
14 billion pounds (6B Kg.) of garbage are dumped into the ocean every year. Most of it is plastic. Americans make up 5% of the world’s population, and yet, produce 30% of the world’s waste and use 25% of the world’s resources.
More than 95 percent of the world’s population is breathing polluted, unsafe air.
THIS IS THE EARTH YOU NOW LIVE ON SURROUNDED BY JUNK.
NOT THE EARTH ON YOUR SMARTPHONE NOR THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENT EARTH.
IF YOU WANT TO GROW UP ON THIS BEAUTIFUL PLANET LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
We are pretty much in a world war right now, if not, we certainly have got all the ingredients required to start one.
Some time ago I posted, ” ONE HUNDRED YEAR FROM NOW MOST PEOPLE THAT ARE NOW ON FACEBOOK WILL BE DEAD.
The dire question confronting us all is not whether Facebook will be full of dead peoples photos but ” whether humanity itself will survive the next hundred years.”
Climate change, scarcity of resources, artificial intelligence, technology Syria proxy war, Gaza strip, Donald Trump, Iran, Nato, Trade agreements, the smartphone, the death of ideas, world population, nanobots, drones, growing inequality, popularism, genetic engineering,
We won’t have to wait long to hear ” Alexa, turn off the lights, ” Siri, lock the front door”
We are becoming artificial intelligence spectators in a world of CONSENT WITHOUT CONSENT.
We no longer live in a world dominated by nations but rather in a world dominated by corporations.
Because of their wealth, these corporations are changing our values along with virtual every caricature of every economic sector of the world.
While the world focus is skewed by a self-posturing USA president – Me first, we are all merrily watch the Arctic melt, swiping barcodes, accepting tracking cookies, smiling for face recognition algorithms, having referendums on short-term issues, plundering the earth resources for short-term profit, ignoring the next generation, relying on Google for information, shopping online while ignoring the sources of supply; reading fake news, becoming more and more confused, removing ourselves from the natural world.
IT IS HARD TO FATHOM GOING A DAY WITHOUT USING A COMPUTER OR A SMARTPHONE HOWEVER BOTH WILL UNDOUBTEDLY CONTINUE TO EVOLVE, WITH LIFE CHANGING TECHNOLOGIES TO PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.
It won’t be long before we are arguing about who gets to make decisions.
Humans or the algorithms.
DON’T BE FOOLED BY AI. IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST MACHINE LEARNING.
FACEBOOK- GOOGLE- INTEL – AMAZON – E BAY ARE ALREADY MAKING MORE AND MORE DECISIONS ON OUR BEHALF WITHOUT ANY CONSENT.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THERE IS NO NEED TO WORRY THAT MACHINES ARE TAKING OVER THE WORLD. THERE IS STILL TRILLIONS OF DATA TO BE TAUGHT OR LEARN ON HOW TO DO SO.
In the meantime, there are far more pressing problems facing the planet.
No one has to be told that once climate migration starts in earnest whether it is by rising seas or crop failures there will be no stopping those affected.
STICKS AND STONE MAY BREAK MY BONES. EXCLUDING MISTAKES AND THE HUMAN FACTOR AI WILL DO WHAT IT IS PROGRAMMED TO DO OR WILL IT.
WE DON’T KNOW.
BUT THERE IS ONE THING FOR SURE WE AS A SPECIES WE DO WHAT IS EVER NECESSARY TO SURVIVE.
It’s the many versus the few that have the data.
AI WILL DEHUMANIZE US IF WE DON’T WAKE UP TO PROTECTING THE EARTH AND ALL THAT EXIST ON IT.
Perception is at the heart of this question and of course, there are hundreds of inventions that could and should be mentioned if we had the time and space.
We began the 20th century with the infancy of airplanes, automobiles, and radio. We end the 20th century with spaceships, computers, smartphones, AI and the wireless Internet all being technologies we now take for granted.
However, the world is steeped in poverty with precious little in the way of humanitarian advancement.
HERE IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER IS MY LIST AND WHY.
The credit card:
Part of the fabric of modern day life. Credit no longer the prerogative of the elite. The ultimate symbol of the triumphant Anglo-American consumer culture. The modern manifestation of money. Allowed modern Banks to transcend national boundaries. Guarantees payment of debts.
Microchip: Fiber Optics: Microprocessor: Windows
Created the Credit Card. The Internet and the World Wide Web.
Enabled the further expansion of agriculture and pollution.
Internal combustion engine:
The why is obvious:
The pneumatic tire:
Did more for the engine.
The condom/ Birth pill.
The why is obvious.
Nuclear power has long provoked ardent policy fights, historically centered on the perceived safety or danger of splitting atoms to keep consumers’ refrigerators running.
Today, it’s not local or environmental opposition but economics that’s crippling nuclear power.
It may be very difficult to meet international carbon-cutting goals without the widespread addition of nuclear plants.
This still leaves the problem of waste, and a choice between nuclear waste—deadly but the concentrated poison that lasts thousands of years—and fossil-fuel waste—invisible, diffuse carbon pollution that in sufficient amounts will transform the Earth for thousands of years.
While nuclear waste is nasty stuff, so are the conventional pollutants of fossil-fuel burning. Nuclear power avoids air emissions of over one million tons of sulfur dioxide and 650,000 tons of nitrogen oxides each year, as well as significant particulate emissions.
Since CO2 emissions persist for many years in the atmosphere emissions cuts made today are worth more than the same cuts made down the road.
The best invention may be Toyota’s Hybrid.
AK-47 Kalashnikov: M16:
The twenty century can be characterized by mass warfare and mass killing- two world wars, Stalin’s purges, the Holocaust, Hiroshima, Cambodia’s killings fields, Rwanda the list goes on.
No firearm of any kind has killed more people.
It is the weapon of choice for terrorists, rebels with 75 million in circulation around the world accounting for 20% of the entire global stock of firearms. Every year, small arms kill between 20,000 and 100,000 people in the world’s conflicts. AK-47s Kalashnikov accounts for a high proportion – and quite possibly the majority – of this human toll. In the 68 years since the first prototype was made, the AK-47 has probably dealt death to millions.
This is the decade of AI (run by the Algorithm) I PAD, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook. Social Media. 3d Printing.
Will there use glorify peace? Not on the evidence so far.
Feel free to add yours and why.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.
( Follow up read of three minutes to the last Post)
Humanity has achieved its current level of freedom following centuries of sacrifices and struggles, which we are now wittingly or unwittingly transferring to Artificial Intelligence.
For obvious reasons it will not be us that ventures out into the Universe, but a self-sustaining machine equipped with all human knowledge, that may decide not to return as it acquires more knowledge beyond our comprehension.
No matter: We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.
We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is already changing our health and leading to a “quantified” self, and sooner than we think it may lead to human augmentation.
The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.
It’s time to let go of the United Nations declaration of Human Rights and to redefine them, effectively addressing people’s needs, not ideology, should dictate the new definition.
Centuries ago human knowledge increased slowly, so politics and economics changed at a leisurely pace too. Today our knowledge is increasing a breakneck speed, and theoretically we should understand the world better and better. But the very opposite happening.
Our new-found knowledge leads to faster economic, social and political changes; in an attempt to understand what is happening, we accelerate the accumulation of knowledge, which leads to faster and greater upheavals.
Consequently we are less and less able to make sense of the present or forecast the future. While the outside world is changing, the humanitarian sector has simply not been able to adapt to new challenges.
Digital fabrication technologies, meanwhile, are interacting with the biological world on a daily basis. Engineers, designers, and architects are combining computational design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to pioneer a symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, the products we consume, and even the buildings we inhabit.
Change has a way of scaring people—scaring them into inaction.
I am a great enthusiast and early adopter of technology, but sometimes I wonder whether the inexorable integration of technology in our lives could diminish some of our quintessential human capacities, such as compassion and cooperation. Our relationship with our smartphones is a case in point. Constant connection may deprive us of one of life’s most important assets: the time to pause, reflect, and engage in meaningful conversation.
Neither technology nor the disruption that comes with it is an exogenous force over which humans have no control.
All of us are responsible for guiding its evolution, in the decisions we make on a daily basis as citizens, consumers, and investors. We should thus grasp the opportunity and power we have to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution and direct it toward a future that reflects our common. objectives and values.
We therefore must redefine what it is to be human.
Should we view prosperity in a society as the accumulation of solutions to human problems. Instead of measuring growth through GDP.
Perhaps growth should be measured by the rate at which new solutions to human problems become available and the degree to which we make those solutions broadly accessible.
The alternative is to watch as animals and plants go extinct, water becomes scarce, weather hits more extremes, conflicts over land and resources increase, and life becomes more difficult for people everywhere.
We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them not just to control Artificial Intelligence., but all technology that is designed for Profit sake only.
If we connect the dots it is certain that “People, Planet, Profit” will be the new tomorrow.
Now that everything is digital Data Privacy is abstract, There’s an air of resignation around the concept of privacy these days.
It’s about the ones and zeros, the metadata underlying our everyday digital lives.
As the physical, digital, and biological worlds continue to converge, new technologies and platforms will increasingly enable citizens to engage with governments, voice their opinions, coordinate their efforts, and even circumvent the supervision of public authorities.
As the human population continues to increase, animal numbers are falling it’s about protecting what is yours, by creating digital spaces where you have control.
There’s a strong correlation.
A new definition of Human/ Technological rights will lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.
It is incumbent on us all to make sure the latter prevails.
Meanwhile, changes in the tools of war – including drones and automated weapons – point to a more remote and anonymous form of warfare. Continued civilian suffering in conflicts in Syria, South Sudan and Yemen is a sobering reminder of the international community’s continued failure.
Piecemeal reformsamount to tinkering around the edges.
Only when we realize that we are for the moment all on the same planet can all enjoy the many gifts Earth provides.
Syria has become the Middle East’s biggest humanitarian disaster in decades.
For most of the last 40 years, Syria’s leaders imposed stability on the country’s mix of religious and ethnic groups. Then civil war erupted, drawing in an array of outsiders.
Secular Syrians, homegrown Islamist radicals and foreign Sunni jihadists battle forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia, and — at times — each other.
After more than four years of violence that has killed more than 250,000 people and led to the rise of Islamic State, the effects of the conflict are being felt ever further afield.
Russia and a U.S.-organized coalition are both fighting Islamic State inside Syria, with Russia supporting Assad and the U.S. on the side of the Syrian rebels.
There’s concern that Assad’s defeat could leave a vacuum that radical Islamic groups would rush to fill.
The war-weary U.S. is taking a cautious approach that minimizes harm to its forces.
There are worries that if foreign governments supply more-advanced weapons to the opposition, they might fall into the hands of the Islamic State or other al-Qaeda-inspired groups, which could turn them against the U.S. and its allies.
Russia, for its part, says its goal is to keep Syria secular, independent and, most important, intact. Russia has used its UN Security Council veto repeatedly to protect the regime and maintains its only military base outside the former Soviet Union at Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus.
THIS WAR NOW IS A WAR of identity—those in which populations are mobilised by grievances that have ripened over decades or centuries.
THE QUESTION IS HOW ARE WE TO GET THE GUNS TO FALL SILENT EARLIER THAN LATER.
At the risk of stating the obvious.
We all know, that bombing is not the final solution.
We all know, that in the Western Powers, there is no stomach for an overt armed intervention. (Putting boots on the ground especially now that Russia is involved.)
We all know, that war is good for business.
We all know, that the war will spread.
We all know, that our current ideologies about war (random episodes of senseless violence- Paris) makes it hard to understand why we still have wars.
We all know, that Sects and tribes are rarely neatly divided, waiting for a line to be drawn between them. Separating them, if need be by force, will make some safer, but it will cause others great misery and may well spark new conflicts.
We all know, that both sides in a civil war often feel they must carry on fighting if they are to escape slaughter. (As those fighting in Syria know, defeat often looks like death, rather than retreat.)
We all know, that only when the fighters have been disillusioned, can mediators get to work—and then only for a limited period.
We all know, that Power-sharing creates weak governments; nobody trusts anyone else enough to grant them real power. Poor administration hobbles business. Ethnic mafias become entrenched. Integration is postponed indefinitely. Lacking genuine political competition, with no possibility of decisive electoral victories, public administration in newly pacified nations is often a mess.
We all know, that Warlords who start conflicts are rarely prepared to admit that they cannot win, and their charisma can be central to the cause.
We all know, that not only does war have a special political and economic interest for many it can be addictive in nature even seeming fun and exciting.
We all know, that the best predictor of a civil war is having a war next door.
We all know, that military victories tend to provide more stable outcomes than negotiated settlements.
We all know, that the prospect of an ending can quite often intensify the fighting.
We all know, that Angola, Chad, Sri Lanka and other places long known for bloodletting are now at peace, though hardly democratic.
We all know, that killing innocent people seems to have a common theme in religion. It gets us accustomed and hypnotized into subservience once our brains enter the alpha state of conditioning.
We all know, that Civil wars unresolved for more than a decade seem to drag on for ever, with both sides resigned to perpetual fighting, too disgusted or exhausted to face their enemies across the negotiating table.
We all know, that one reason for backsliding is that peace often fails to bring the prosperity that might give it lasting value to all sides.
We all know, that from birth, virtually all of us have been brainwashed through various outlets that encourage materialism, ego, subservience, control and conformity.
We all know, that myths are created to drive war and how those myths differ so enormously from the reality.
We all know, that our children are not learning the true history of our origin while being forced to learn a propaganda filled view of what history looks like through biased.
We all know, that there can be no peace in the middle east till Israel takes down its Sectarian Wall and offers a one state Solution. There is little point in clinging to their original dreams long after all possibility of attaining them has faded.
We all know, that civil wars do end.
We all know, there are worries that if foreign governments supply more-advanced weapons to the opposition, they might fall into the hands of the Islamic State or other al-Qaeda-inspired groups, which could turn them against the U.S. and its allies.
We all know, that Russia, for its part, says its goal is to keep Syria secular, independent and, most important, intact. Russia has used its UN Security Council veto repeatedly to protect the regime and maintains its only military base outside the former Soviet Union at Syria’s Mediterranean port of Tartus.
We all know, that if the war continues untreated that there will be millions of more refugees.
We all know, that the world organisations
We all know, that there are casualties on both sides of the conflict.
We all don’t know the Human Toll.
The United Nations estimated in July that more than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria. About 2 million Syrians have registered as refugees or are pending registration, with an average of almost 5,000 people fleeing into neighboring countries each day, the office of the UN High Commission on Refugees said Sept. 3. At the end of August, there were 110,000 refugees in Egypt, 168,000 in Iraq, 515,000 in Jordan, 716,000 in Lebanon and 460,000 in Turkey, it said. Inside Syria, a further 4.25 million people are displaced, according to data from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
We all don’t know, that Leadership changes are a factor in the termination of between 25% and 40% of civil wars.
We all don’tknow, that the majority of victories come in the first year of a civil war.
We all don’tknow, that the war has pitted the U.S. and its Sunni-Muslim Gulf allies, who want to see Assad removed from power, against Russia and Shiite-Muslim Iran.
We all don’tknow, that there are about 10,000 jihadists — who include foreign fighters — fighting for factions linked to al-Qaeda. Another 30,000 to 35,000 are Islamists who share much of the outlook of the jihadists, but are focused purely on the Syrian war rather than a wider international struggle.
We all don’tknow, that Fighters from the rebel group are financed and armed in part by some Gulf Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They have struggled to hold territory. They have also battled Islamists, who see the Syrian conflict as a religious war.
We all don’tknow, that the Syrian National Council: The council of opposition groups has its main offices in Istanbul and Cairo, and was formed in 2011. It falls under the umbrella of the Syrian National Coalition. The group seeks a civil and democratic state in Syria after the toppling of Assad. It has a president, a prime minister and about 114 members. It’s an umbrella group of opposition blocs whose main goal is toppling Assad’s government. The group has sought international recognition and the formation of a transitional government, according to its website. It has pledged to guarantee the “rights, interests and the participation of all components of Syria.
We all don’t know, that the Assad’s family has ruled the country for 40 years, and has been backed by the Alawite community and other minorities. Assad’s father left behind an authoritarian government that’s been led by the socialist Baath Party since 1963. Under Hafez al-Assad, Syria allied itself with Shiite Muslim-led Iran. Lebanon’s Shiite-Muslim Hezbollah has aligned with the Syrian government and fought with them to take the strategic city of al-Qusair in June.
We all don’t know that General Salim Idris:
He became the head of the rebel Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Command in December. The East Germany-trained electronics professor was a general in the Syrian army when he defected in July 2012. He has been vocal in trying to persuade the U.S. to intervene militarily against Assad after the use of chemicals weapons in August. Idris has tried to convince the U.S. that the FSA isn’t an Islamist or radical group as portrayed by the Assad government.
We all don’tknow that George Sabra:
He was elected in April as the acting president of the coalition, and held the post until July. He’s still head of the Syrian National Council after being appointed in November 2012. During his role leading the opposition bloc he stirred controversy by refusing to rule out talks with Assad’s government. He speaks about Syria without any religious or sectarian bias and supports the formation of a secular government after the ouster of Assad.
We all don’t know Ahmad al-Jarba:
He became the opposition coalition’s new president in July. As a leader of the Shammar tribe, one of the largest in the region and from which the mother of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia also hailed, Al-Jarba is viewed as someone the leadership in Riyadh can work with. Al-Jarba was born in 1969 in the north-eastern Syrian city of Qameshli.
We all don’t know Ghassan Hitto:
Hitto stepped down as opposition prime minister in July. He was given the responsibility of administering areas inside Syria held by the rebels. He pledged to enforce laws and provide logistical support for opposition forces. The communications executive was born in Damascus and has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana’s Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.
We all don’t know Ahmad Tomeh:
Syria’s opposition National Coalition elected Tomeh as prime minister this month and tasked him with forming a transitional government. The 48-year-old is thought to be have been a consensus candidate accepted by secular members in the coalition and moderate Islamist groups fighting to oust Assad. He replaced Ghassan Hitto, a Syrian American businessman. Tomeh is from the country’s oil producing east.
We all don’tknow that Syria’s conflict began with peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011, part of a wave of popular opposition to authoritarian regimes across the Arab world. It evolved into a sectarian war after President Bashar al-Assad’s troops fired on demonstrators.
What about the sham Peace conference in Vienna misleads the world about the lack of any realistic solution to the war.is a sham conference that is not capable of delivering any peace negotiations, and that the Obama administration knew that perfectly well from the start.
None of the Syrian parties to the war were invited. The obvious implication of that decision is that the external patrons of the Syrian parties – especially Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia – are expected to move toward the outline of a settlement and then use their clout with the clients to force the acceptance of the deal. The idea of leaping over the Syrian parties to the conflict by having an outside power negotiate a peace agreement on behalf of it clients is perfectly logical in the abstract.
Iran, on the other hand, is fighting a war in Syria that it regards a vital to its security. And Russia’s political and security interests in Syria may be less clear-cut, but it also has no incentive to agree to a settlement that would risk a victory for terrorism in Syria.
All the conference achieved it to mislead the rest of the world about the lack of any realistic solution to the war.
The way to end the war is to get Russia to ask Mr Assad to help with a transition into a new government.
It must create a Mutually hurting stalemates. Governments often need less pressure, since they find stalemates painful in themselves. Without full control of their territory, legitimacy seeps away. This weakens them and encourages others who have grievances to make a stand, adding to the problems.
Separate measures are needed for the Rebels. They will require extra pressure, since they are less likely to find a stalemate intrinsically painful.
Fighting becomes their raison d’être; keeping the ability to fight on is all they need. “The guerrilla wins if he does not lose,”
The trickiest part is getting both sides into painful positions at the same time. Knowing that the enemy is under the cosh can tempt embattled combatants to hold out.
The Assad regime obviously has no incentive to make peace the least bad option.
What is essential in peace negotiations is combatants’ acceptance, at least privately, that the hope of winning has died away.
They then can turn their attention to those that blindly believe anything they are told in the name of “faith”.
Civil wars tend to end as messily as they are fought. Negotiations often take place in parallel with combat.
There may well be some conflicts better fought to their conclusion than left unresolved. This is not one of them. The violence needed for a military victory has already destroy the state institutions required to stabilise a country in the long-term. The announcement by David Cameron that the UK is now engaged in drone strikes and bombing against targets in Syria is just what the wars needs. Britain will be at the mercy of events which are being shaped by the numerous other players in the conflict, all of whom have their own highly contradictory agendas.
Yesterday the UK government spent 10 hours debating whether to expand its Bombing on ISIS/Daesh into Syria.
During the debate there was hardly a mention of Arms Sales other than,
“Isis didn’t come from nowhere, its weapons don’t come from nowhere. We sell vast amounts of weapons to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and a number of other places” Mr Corbett.
When it comes to how arms sales are perceive – whether they are British or US or whatever – it tends to be seen as a domestic economic issue.
The Middle East has now descended into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks. Countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using them and wanting more.
Adding to the concern is the fact that the spending spree on arms comes against the background of a marked increase in military interventions by countries in the region since the Arab spring in 2011. Saudi Arabia has intervened in Bahrain (at the request of that kingdom’s ruler during the so-called Pearl revolution), in Yemen in 2009 and again in Yemen this year.
$18bn expected to be spent on weapons this year.
War is good for business.
In March 2015, the Syrian civil war, rightly declared by the United Nations as the “worst humanitarian disaster since the Cold War,” entered its fifth year.
Today, a number of factors make the conflict intractable.
The revolution began around issues of social inequality and the desire for freedom from fear and repression.
The Syrian civil war was never just about Syria. From the beginning, regional and international powers intervened in the conflict by supporting the different warring parties.
The rise of mainly foreign jihadist groups like the “Islamic State” (ISIS) have exacerbated the situation by both wrestling further decision-making power away from Syrian actors and by establishing itself as a radical “spoiling” force that would hinder any negotiated political agreement.
As more actors become involved, one constant factor remains: no single group or faction has the military strength to be able to simultaneously defeat all its adversaries and declare military victory.
Russia has continued to supply the Syrian military with weapons and equipment throughout the conflict. Moscow insists it is only fulfilling pre-existing contracts and that it is not violating any international sanctions.
Despite Western pressure, Moscow insisted earlier this year that it would be honouring its previously agreed contract with Damascus for supplying sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missile defense systems.
Given the unprecedented levels of weapon sales by the west (including the US, Canada and the UK) to the mainly Sunni Gulf states, Vladimir Putin’s decision last week to allow the controversial delivery of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran – voluntarily blocked by Russia since 2010 – seems likely to accelerate the proliferation.
Russia has already reportedly sent advanced Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, SA-17 surface-to-air missiles, and short-range Pantsyr-S missile systems.
Tehran is believed to have become a key supplier of rockets, anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. Iran has stepped up its military support of Syrian government forces since the end of 2012.
However, Iranian officials deny breaking the UN sanctions imposed on its arms exports.
To evade the sanctions, Tehran has allegedly been transporting most of the weapons through Iraqi airspace on commercial planes and, more recently, overland through Iraq by lorry, something the Iraqi government denies.
Photographs and videos published online appear to provide evidence of recent Iranian arms shipments.
One purportedly shows an Iranian-made rocket, on which the date of manufacture is listed as 2012; another an ammunition crate containing mortar shells made by a Iranian defense ministry subsidiary in 2012.
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), have said that the vast majority of its weaponry has been bought on the black market or seized from government facilities.
European Union: May 2011, it imposed an arms embargo on Syria.
As the uprising entered its third year, several member states – led by the UK and France – lobbied to be able to supply arms to “moderate” forces in the opposition.
Despite deep rifts, foreign ministers agreed to let the embargo lapse in May 2013.
Though EU member states do not appear to have already sent arms directly to the rebels, another European country has been linked to a secret, large-scale airlift.
In January 2013, a British blogger began to notice weapons made in the former Yugoslavia were appearing in videos and images posted online by rebels fighting in southern Syria.
The recoilless guns, assault rifles, grenade launchers and shoulder-fired rockets appeared to be from an undeclared surplus from the 1990s Balkan wars stockpiled by Croatia.
Western officials told the New York Times that the weaponry had been sold to Saudi Arabia, and that multiple plane loads had left Croatia since December 2012, bound for Turkey and Jordan.
They were reportedly then given to several Western-aligned FSA groups. Croatia’s foreign ministry and arms-export agency have denied any such shipments occurred.
The US has repeatedly said it is reluctant to supply arms directly to rebel groups because it is concerned that weapons might end up in the possession of militant jihadist groups.
But on 14 June 2013 Washington said it would give the rebels “direct military aid”after concluding Syrian troops had used chemical weapons.
The CIA is reported to have played an important role behind the scenes since 2012, coordinating arms shipments to the rebels by US allies.
In June 2012, US officials said CIA officers were operating in Turkey, helping decide which groups would receive weapons.
The CIA is also reported to have been instrumental in setting up the alleged secret airlift of weapons from Croatia.
The Turkish government is a firm supporter of the rebels, but has not officially approved the sending of military aid.
However, reports suggest it has played a pivotal role in sharp acceleration of arms shipments to the rebels since late 2012.
The Turkish authorities had oversight over much of the airlift of weapons from Croatia, “down to affixing transponders to trucks ferrying the military goods through Turkey so it might monitor shipments as they move by land into Syria”, according to the New York Times.
The Yugoslav-made weapons first seen in the hands of FSA units in southern Syria in early 2013 are believed to have been smuggled over the border with Jordan.
The Jordanian government has denied any role and said it was trying to prevent smuggling.
However, the New York Times found evidence to suggest Royal Jordanian Air Force transport planes and Jordanian commercial aircraft had been involved in the alleged airlift of arms from Croatia.
Syria’s rebels, who are drawn mostly from the country’s majority Sunni community, are said to have acquired weapons, ammunition and explosives from Sunni tribesmen and militants in neighbouring Iraq.
Arms are reportedly smuggled over the long, porous border and sold or given to the rebels. Al-Qaeda in Iraq played an active role in founding the al-Nusra Front and provides it with money, expertise and fighters.
As with Iraq, Lebanon’s Sunni community is reported to have helped supply Syrian rebel fighters with small arms purchased on the black market or shipped from other countries in the region, including Libya.
The Lebanese authorities have seized unmarked shipments of ammunition, including rocket-propelled grenades.
The Syrian town of Qusair, which was recaptured by government forces in June 2013, was a transit point for weapons smuggled from north-eastern Lebanon.
The North African state has been a key source of weapons for the rebels.
The UN Security Council’s Group of Experts, which monitors the arms embargo imposed on Libya during the 2011 uprising, said in April 2013 that there had been illicit transfers of “heavy and light weapons, including man-portable air defence systems, small arms and related ammunition and explosives and mines”.
“The significant size of some shipments”, it said, “and the logistics involved suggest that representatives of the Libyan local authorities might have at least been aware of the transfers, if not actually directly involved.”
Saudi Arabia is reported recently to have taken the lead in channelling financial and military support to the rebels.
Unlike Qatar, the Gulf kingdom is believed to be suspicious of the Islamist rebel groups, and has focused on supporting nationalist and secular factions of the FSA.
In late 2012, Riyadh is said to have financed the purchase of “thousands of rifles and hundreds of machine guns”, rocket and grenade launchers and ammunition for the FSA from a Croatian-controlled stockpile of Yugoslav weapons.
These were reportedly flown – including by Royal Saudi Air Force C-130 transporters – to Jordan and Turkey and smuggled into Syria.
Until now, Qatar is widely believed to have been the main supplier of weapons to the rebels.
The Gulf emirate has denied providing any arms, although it has promised to support the opposition “with whatever it needs”.
Most of the weapons are thought to have been given to hard-line Islamist rebel groups, particularly those aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has acted as an intermediary.
This has reportedly drawn criticism from Western officials who say many of the groups are extremist.
Qatar Emiri Air Force transporter planes flew to Turkey with supplies for the Syrian rebels as early as January 2012, according to the New York Times
By autumn 2012, Qatari aircraft were landing at Esenboga airport, near Ankara, every two days.
Qatari officials insisted they were carrying non-lethal aid.
A complete and detailed picture of the arms race in the Middle East is impossible to construct.
But the availability of weapons in the region, from which British firms make billions of pounds a year, was a “contributory factor” in the ongoing conflict.
In 2013 the Independent reported that the UK made £12.bn from arms sales to repressive regimes around the world, most of which are in the Middle East and Africa.
Over the last decade, the Middle East has become a focal point of the world arms buildup. Each year, the regional arsenal grows, as the United States, the Soviet Union, France, Britain and others ship billions of dollars worth of weapons to the countries there.
Today, the region receives over half of all arms deliveries to the Third World, and more than a quarter of all world arms shipments.
In less than 20 years, these have grown tenfold in value — from $4.7 billion in 1962 to $46.7 billion in 1980, nearly nine times the world average.
When the states of the world are ranked by military spending per capita, six of the top seven are in the Middle East.
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Brunei, Kuwait, United States, Soviet Union and France.
By the end of the 1970s, the region was spending between 13 and 15 percent of its gross national product for the military, compared with 8.3 percent for the Warsaw Pact countries, the next highest.
If Israel’s battle-ready reserves of some 300,000 are included, the Middle East now has almost twice the total military manpower of the US, and is approaching the 4.7 million total for the US and all NATO countries except Turkey.
During the same period, operational combat aircraft in the region grew by more than 50 percent, from 2,900 to 4,400, surpassing the size of the combined European NATO air forces.
The one Canadian deal alone – to supply Saudi Arabia with light armoured vehicles – will account for 20% of the military vehicles sold globally in years covered by the contract.
With conflicts raging in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, this is just the thin edge of the wedge. Saudi has booked enough arms imports in 24 months for them to be worth $10bn a year.
Arms sales to the top five purchasers in the region – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Egypt and Iraq – surge this year to more than $18bn, up from $12bn last year.
Abu Dhabi staged the 13th edition of the International Defence Exhibition and Conference in 2015 it attracted 1,200 exhibiting companies and over 100’000 visitors.
According to the New York Times, defense industry officials have notified Congress that they are expecting additional requests from Arab states fighting Isis – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt – for thousands of new US-made weapons, including missiles and bombs, to rebuild depleted arms stockpiles.
Haider al-Abadi, disclosed that he was seeking arms worth billions of dollars from Washington – with payment deferred – for the battle against Daesh/Islamic State (Isis).
Ironically, among the key weapons suppliers in the arms race are permanent members of the UN security council who have been at the center of two unconventional arms control initiatives – disarming the Syrian government’s stockpiles of chemical weapons and negotiating for a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme.
They showed how Saudi Arabia had become the world’s largest importer of weapons and fourth largest military spender and that other Middle East states were sharply increasing their arms purchases.
Last week France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, disclosed progress in talks to sell Rafale fighter jets to the UAE, one of the Middle East’s biggest and most aggressive arms buyers.
CHINA could be on the verge of teaming up with Russia to unleash its military might in Syria and destroy Islamic State (ISIS).
During the first year of the war on terror, approximately 72 million rounds were expended in Iraq and another 21 million in Afghanistan — about 2,000 rounds per war fighter.
There are over 80 million gun owners in the U.S. If every single one went out and bought just 100 rounds – barely enough for one afternoon on the range – it would require 8 billion rounds of ammo.
If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands.
So how do we reverse the trend?
To do this,
Our approach needs to go well beyond the current focus on militarily downgrading and defeating ISIS and keeping the conflict from spreading to Syria’s neighboring countries — a strategy that has arguably already failed.
Syria is now functions as a war economy, and fighting is seen as one of the few options available to generate income.
Within the country, there are over 7 million people who have been internally displaced and over 12 million people who need basic humanitarian aid to survive.
Current international funding and resources fall short of covering Syria’s enormous humanitarian needs — including basic food assistance — and it must be increased.
What’s more, the international community’s priority needs to be to work on ensuring access for humanitarian aid workers, as they cannot reach parts of the Syrian population, whether due to the Syrian regime’s obstruction or ISIS’s extensive control.
With no clear military victory in sight, a political arrangement is still the best — albeit extremely complex — bet to see an end to the war.
Only a stronger, non-jihadist Syrian opposition can ultimately wrestle control and support away from radical groups like ISIS/Daesh and al-Nusra and sit at the negotiating table.
Something’s got to give.
And when it does, these are some possible scenarios:
If Assad is killed, the regime will likely fall and the rebels could claim victory. That would lead to an attempt at a transitional government, likely composed of members from the newly formed Syrian National Council, despite its immediate problems and the fact that jihadists have been the most organized rebel force up to this point.
A truly dangerous scenario would be if it went from the proxy war which it now is to a full-blown world war with Iran-Syria-Russia on side against the West and its Gulf allies.
The destabilization of the entire region. Syria would then turn into a free-for-all.
President Bashar al-Assad is given a safe passage out of Syria to end the nation’s bloodshed. This great compromise is not likely since Assad vowed he would never leave Syria alive. France is good at giving Mass killers a home.
With the amount of arms sales there is every likely hood that the Arab forces could become the Middle East’s newest source of Anti- democratic, sectarian- based, instability, potentially intensifying the Sunni-Shia conflict.
While most of the warring parties are exhausted, they also believe they have no alternative to war, that the only possible conclusion is either victory or death.
As with all paintings it’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the artist uses of the colors he sees.
In part one we have applied a wash of Money with a ramble application of religion.
Now its time to dip our brush into more intense colors and forms. Let’s have a dart of “gun culture,” the Gun.
At the risk of turning our picture into naive art as citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing by guns of our fellow human beings.
The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing and this is a country at peace.
To absorb the scale of the mayhem, it’s worth trying to guess the death toll of all the wars in American history since the War of Independence began in 1775. The staggering fact, is that 212,994 more Americans lost their lives from firearms in the last 45 years than in all wars involving the US.
In the past decade in which the fear of terror has cost the USA hundreds of billions of dollars in wars, surveillance and intelligence programmes and homeland security. Ten years after 9/11, homeland security spending doubled to $69bn. The total bill since the attacks is more than $649bn.
One more figure.
There have been fewer than 20 terror-related deaths on American soil since 9/11 and about 364,000 deaths caused by privately owned firearms.
If any European nation had such a record and persisted in addressing only the first figure, while ignoring the second, you can bet your last pound that the United States would be warning against travel to that country and no American would set foot in it without body armour.
The historic lunacy of this position in the USA springs from the second amendment right to keep and bear arms, and is derived from English common law and our 1689 Bill of Rights.
The gun lobby is too powerful to challenge and that nothing will ever change. It’s no wonder that it is mostly seen as a matter of personal safety. The AR 15, the gun that Adam Lanza used to murder 20 children in Newtown, is now the most popular rifle in America.
International pressure may be one way of reducing the slaughter over the next generation. This has reached the point where it has ceased to be a domestic issue. The world cannot stand idly by.
You might ask why we did not use Gun as the wash to our painting. The reason is you have to buy a gun.
Our perception of danger is easily distorted by rare events like the Recent Killings in Paris.
You also might say that Guns don’t attack children; psychopaths and sadists and terrorists do.
Weapons may have saved the planet from a future too terrible to imagine.
The one that has and is changing the future is the Kalashnikov AK – 47. The 47 refers to the year of its commission 1947.
Invented by a gifted tank mechanic to save Russia’s Mikhail Kalashnikov, who died in Russia on 23 Dec 2023 aged 94.Russia not only distributes the Kalashnikov rifles all over the world, but also licensed its production in over 30 other countries, including China, Israel, India, Egypt and Nigeria.
It’s the most effective killing machine in human history– a gun that, on its 62nd birthday, is still killing as many as a quarter of a million people every year, in every corner of the globe.
It is believed that AK-47s have caused more deaths than artillery fire, airstrikes and rocket attacks combined. Responsible for more deaths than any other individual model of weapon in human history.
It has truly changed the course of human history in so many different conflicts that we hardly have time to discuss them.
It’s the tool that lets “freedom fighter” groups – or “terrorist” groups, depending on whose politics you follow – hold off entire armies of well-trained soldiers packing million-dollar weapons systems.
The average global price of the assault rifle was estimated at $534 in 2005, according to Oxford University economist Phillip Killicoat. Though in African countries the price of AK-47 is on average $200 cheaper.
In the U.S. it has jump from $600 to $1,500, as gun owners rush to buy genuine Russian weapons before they disappear from store shelves.
It was the US, which gave the Al Qaeda founder his first AK-47 to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
The image of AK-47 appears on the flag of Mozambique as well as coats of arms of Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso (1984-97) and East Timor. The Kalashnikov rifle is also present on the flag of Lebanese militant organization, Hezbollah.
Coins dedicated to Mikhail Kalashnikov and his creation were issued not only in Russia, but also in such a peaceful place as New Zealand, which marked the rifle’s 60th birthday with special two-dollar pieces.
The French newspaper, Liberation, named AK-47 the most important invention of the XX century.
Colombian artist, Cesar Lopez, has transformed a dozen of AK-47s into guitars, with then UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan, getting one of the musical instruments as a gift in 2007.
There are more than a thousand types of dangerous guns in the world.
Our brush is now dripping in violence. However every man has the right to risk his life in order to save it.
Our next color should recognize this fact.
However to turn our painting of the future away from destruction and war to the possibilities of living together in peace we need to find a color that is common to all to wipe the earth terrorists of the face of the planet.