If I said something like this on Facebook, I know for a fact certain folks (you know who you are) would attack me with comments like “oh here we go again, everything is always American’s fault”.
Well it looks like Obama agrees with those of us who have been saying for the last year that the US-lead invasion of Iraq in 2003 indirectly lead to the creation of Daesh. In this VICE NEWS interview, he says (at 11’50”):
“Two things: One is, ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion, which is an example of unintended consequences, which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”
That’s pretty bold for a sitting American President to admit. He continues to make sense:
What I’m worried about” he said, “is even if ISIL is defeated, the underlying problem of disaffected Sunnis around the world – but particularly in some of these areas including Libya, including Yemen – where a young man who’s growing up has no education, has no prospects for the future, is looking around and the one way he can get validation, power, respect, is if he’s a fighter.”
“That’s a problem we’re going to have, generally. And we can’t keep on thinking about counterterrorism and security as entirely separate from diplomacy, development, education.”
He goes on to talk about why it is in the best self-interests of the US to fund education in the Middle East. I agree. Unfortunately he didn’t go the final step and connect the US’ desire to control to oil of the Middle East, and it’s long history of interfering in the politics of the region to control that oil, with the rise if Sunni and Wahhabist extremism – but it was a good and surprising start.
But then he says legalisation of marijuana shouldn’t be young people’s top priority. Really? When the US has the world’s largest prison population and much of that is being driven by the drug laws? I definitely think legalisation of all drugs, not just marijuana, should be a top priority of American’s youth.
John Ashton, who served as Special Representative for Climate Change at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2006 to 2012, delivered a speech last week at the Conseil Francais de L’Energie 4th European Energy Forum in Paris where he took apart both the CEO of Shell and the fossil fuel industry in general. It’s also an interesting depiction, from someone who has spent decades on the front lines of the climate battle, of how these fossil fuel megacorporations operate.
Here are some of my favourite excerpts:
You are not detached, and in reality your authority is compromised by your obvious desire to cling to what you know, whatever the cost to society.
The psychopath displays inflated self-appraisal, lack of empathy, and a tendency to squash those who block the way. All these traits can be found in your text. There is a touch of psychopathy in the story of your face.
I have lived in a period when politics has been linear, and therefore predictable. You are skilled at navigating linear politics. Corporations became ever more skilled at rigging the choices made by linear politics for their profit against the public interest. That is one reason why linear politics ending.
Read the whole speech here.