Thursday, December 27, 2007

LANDMINES or The Clinton's Legacy for Humanity (or the great Obama's)

The demise of CLINTON and BUSH, the APOSTATES who stepped on a ROMAN anti-personal MIND and the rise of CLINTON his wife and her unlikely young black usurper OBAMA the Great.

by James Travers-Murison - has a degree in American and Asian history, psychology and a Law degree at Monash University and a diploma from the Australian College of Journalism. He has travelled extensively around the world including reporting on the War zones of Kashmir, and writing about the Vietnam War, Pakistan, Kurdish Turkey, Israel, Zimbabwe, Yugoslavia and Iran. He worked at the BBC in London (as a temp in accounts for a few days) and as a volunteer for OPTUS community cable TV, Channel 31 in Melbourne, Channel 9 WIN Darwin and The Canberra Times in Australia (but as a reporter and editor). He has also been published in CCH's Equal Opportunity Law Newsletter in relation to human rights issues and abuse of aboriginal children due to liquor.

This is a light hearted satirical, social and political comment on the demise of effective leadership to the world by America. It examines the failure of the ex-U.S. President in dealing with the abolition of weapons of war, in this case anti-personnel mines. It considers how this has led to the Republican success and their demise giving an opening and a closing for a new Clinton, a female, who despite losing the Democrat nomination for President, and being rejected as Vice President may still be able to rectify her husband's transgressions. Whether she can succeed by serving an Afro-American Obama, whose job is surely to end the racial divide, and can bide her time beyond the next election to the one after when the Americans are truly sick of male politicians and may be prepared to elect a 68 year old woman lawyer. This is examined in the context of what is today's new Roman Empire and compares it to the rule of Julian and the fall of the Roman Empire. ....


My great uncle and aunt were almost killed by a landmine planted by terrorists in what is now Zimbabwe. They were an old couple who had a small farm and enough money to get by. Libya was strewn with mines during World War II, particularly along the
Gazala strip running West of Tobruk. How many died after the war no one will know, but the effects on Libya's current leadership are more than apparent. Qaddafi must have been a young boy then.

Kosovo, Cambodia, Iraq and parts of South America are examples of the horrific effects of landmines, which still persist in today's world. The other day I went to get my car's engine steamcleaned and an Afghani mujaheddin rebel blasted away with a high-pressure hose. Later he told me his feet had been badly injured by an anti-personnel mine. Russian or American, he did not know. The reality is that this is the environment Osama Bin Laden has lived in. And he is simply a product of the high tech arms race between the old Soviet Union and the United States. The Taliban were armed by America in the 1980s.

Despite the fact that the United States appears not to have produced Anti-personnel mines since 1996 and has capped its mine inventory, it still stockpiles millions of mines and maintains the right to produce mines with self-destruct and
de-activation mechanisms.

In this respect President Clinton in 2001 went out letting the world down despite his so-called "loving democratic" nature and George Bush
Jnr knew it. Bush started his term by bombing Iraq and followed the standard military line telling Americans to get ready for war when Arab terrorists lashed back at the US on September 11. His father in the Gulf War talked about a new world order, but imposed it appears to his son by American might rather than democracy. In 2003 Bush used this war on terror with a carte blanche attitude and went for broke in Iraq claiming the invasion was for Weapons of Mass Destruction, when that resulted in an empty hand he took up the cause of democracy at the same time blocking elections in Iraq till the results were secured in his favour. The Iraqis did not buy it and mounting US casualties resulted in 2007 loosing Congress, 2008 loosing the Presidency for the Republicans and now the US will be out of Iraq by 2011 regardless.

But Clinton attempted to use force by bombing Iraq to gain access for monitors to secret weapons sites. He failed to put before Congress the Treaty to ban Landmines despite the overwhelming ratification of most of the world's nations. The U.S. was the only Western democratic nation not to do so at the December 3, 1997 Ottawa Conference. It has to be said that there was no way the Republican controlled senate and house were going to vote for it and his heart was probably for banning land mines. I almost heard a sense of failure in his voice when he said it is America's duty as the world's policeman to be able to protect its troops through the use of landmines in carrying out their duty. But since then even without the USA and Russia yet with 155 other States as parties to it, over 40 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed, many thousands of hectares of fertile land cleared and given back to communities and tens of thousands of landmine survivors helped to regain mobility and confidence, it could be said that this treaty has been a resounding success. But these achievements must not lull us into a false sense of complacency. The world is still full of minor wars and more landmines are being placed due in part to America and Russia's refusal to comply and particularly America's disastrous foreign policy.

Clinton has come back to relevance now because of his wife. Having lost the Democrat nomination for President and due to her vicious fight for it was, in a grave mistake by Obama, not selected as Vice to the strange maverick half black Harvard law student. Together they would have had a superb opportunity to bring about world peace, not just through removing landmines, but in nuclear weapons, Islams terrorist war and many other areas. They would have had a Democrat controlled Congress to achieve this. Their challenge would have been to do this without alienating the American people and losing Congress support. However Obama refused to humbly bow down and ask his tormentor elder white female to be his running mate and instead retreated to a dynamic older, very neutral and fairly unimaginative white lawmaker. Furthermore due to Obama's implicit chauvenism, as McCain put up a female Vice, Obama almost lost due to the middle class white vote. McCain was initially ahead in the polls when he first selected her and Obama was only saved by the financial melt down. So his seemingly land slide win is a little deceptive with in fact slightly less than 53% of the popular vote and a financial crisis propelling him in. The Alaskan governor, Palan, or indeed Hilary Clinton, would have been an historic first for the United States of America by having a woman in world leadership, even as Vice President.
Obama squandered his opportunity to do this. Even though as he is partly Afro-American, making an historic first in having the oppressed slave class that caused a civil war finally entering Presidency of the Nation, although this would represent an emancipation of racial bigotry against black people world wide, and as he is a Democrat and a strong socialist this would reinforce this, he blew an epic turning point in history that could have occurred to bring in a new truly democratic era, one of humanitarianism and equality for race and for sex. He partly redeemed himself by making Hilary Secretary of State thus using the Clinton's world class connections in foreign affairs.

But now he is in power he has to learn from Bill Clinton who made some grave mistakes, if Obama is to create a successful Presidential team. Obama's chance now is to use his oratory skills to inspire beyond the standard right wing mental response that McCain was perpetuating in the Republicans and so dismally failed to inspire. Bill made the error of resorting to violence to solve international diplomacy. This should only be resorted to through the United Nations and be legalised in international law.

After Bin
Laden's bombing of the US Embassy in Kenya, Clinton in 1999 sent cruise missiles into civilian facilities in the Sudan and Afghanistan, while trying to cover up his own personal sexual failings in dealing with the Lewinsky affair, including removing evidence of his association with her. On the very day that Congress was to vote on his impeachment over this he temporarily blocked Congress by attacking Serbia. Serbians were bombed for a month by NATO and U.S. planes in Serbia and Kosovo, supposedly to stop human rights violations by Serbian military police.

The fact that so many other nations considered it unnecessary to use landmines to protect the world's peace and the fact that there are other nations apart from America whose roles in the peace-keeping process is vital was very much
unemphasized by the President of the world's so-called greatest nation. In 1997 Ms Jody Williams, an American, head of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, jointly won the Nobel peace prize for her part in attempting to completely end the use of all anti-personnel mines, much to the administrations professed disapproval. It is this attitude that has to change in the US and Obama with Congress on his side has such an opportunity to get it right this time. Yet he appears to be doing exactly what Clinton did wrong, he has made inconsistent policy speeches in 2008 on the death penalty that make little sense and is also seemingly opposing gun control laws. Now despite his attempts to reform health care, he is drifting to the right due to the entrenched establishment forces within the Democrat Party who are still subject to big business lobby groups. He showed some individuality in shaking hands with the radical Venezuelan President Chavez and showing moderation in Cairo in regard to the Middle East, but he is still adopting a belligerent attitude to Afghanistan and North Korea.

In 2000, entering the new millennium and the end of his Presidency, Bill Clinton continued to drift to the right with the lobbying of the powerful military industry in that country. He was more influenced in gaining the short-term votes rather than looking at the bigger picture, and was in a way shunned by Al Gore due to his poor sexual conduct, this no doubt had some influence on his failed election to Presidency in 2000. Clinton by trying to cover up his improper sexual behaviour and attempting to win the more hard-line Americans ended up losing the Democrats' softer supporters who turned to green candidates and independents or simply did not vote in 2000. In a word, he failed to come to terms with his vice-president whose trust he had betrayed over the perjury.

Previously when acting ethically if not somewhat naively in his first administration he had kept alive the heart of social democracy in the people. Yet in his second term he managed to alienate his most devoted supporters and lost Al Gore the presidency, which should have been unassailable given the relative credentials of the candidates. Surprisingly the Republicans began changing their stance against welfare and even their isolationist defence policy though this collapsed once Bush had power. There was a lesson here for
Obama in choosing his vice president that Obama did not respond to, one that should have healed the trust broken there by Bill Clinton with his wife and the American people.

The innocent lives lost through the reckless deployment of landmines by the more unstable nations on this planet needs to be stopped. And it is only by leading by example that this can be done, as most other nations seem to realise. For America to keep on using and maintaining the right to produce more anti-personnel mines shows a decline of faith in what is now the modern day Roman Empire. A decline that has steadily dropped as America has started using Neo-Colonial military methods to secure its energy sources - in particular by invading Iraq.

This is dangerous because it symbolises a decline in faith in humanity’s ability to provide peaceful answers to international disputes. Minefields needed by U.S. forces to protect South Korea against North Korea was a very weak argument given that country is in a state of economic and moral collapse and had begun to end its isolation from South Korea and the international community until Bush arrived on the scene. Ironically the U.S. gave approval to South Korea to extend its missile range to reach the North Korean capital at the same time as the historic joint unification meetings between the
Koreas early in 2002 and since then Bush has done the utmost to use North Korea as a scapegoat for his failure in world policy and so sabotage potential reunification that could have occurred there. Only now after the nuclear weapons fiasco and North Korea's agreement to destroy enrichment facilities has the rift began to heal. Though in 2009 Obama has stumbled in dealing with North Korea over their attempts to launch a satellite, not helped by the right wing Christian President of South Korea, Lee. The result has been an escalation in tension, abondonment of nuclear test bans, missile tests, a restarting of enrichment of nuclear fuel and a pay dispute at the joint Korean factories. Obama and Clinton need to be much more actively pursuing dialogue with North Korea about reunification and a fair deal for the North, rather than isolating and alienating them. Ironically this may be more Hillary's mishandling than Obama. Now in Iran a similar failure to act decisively may have lost an opportunity to bring democracy there over the Presidential election vote rigging.

America isolated Iraq after the first Gulf War and this has caused untold suffering to millions of mostly innocent people, Clinton did little to address this and Bush did address it but in such an incredibly incompetent and naive way that has cost him world support. When Al
Quaeda bombed the two American embassies in Africa, dozens of cruise missiles were sent in retaliation. Towards the end of his reign to put a foot against what was Clinton's America also produced the standard unpleasant military results. This may be understandable, but it drew a line in Clinton's Presidency from the socialist Christian who turned the other cheek and tried to resolve conflict with intelligence and wisdom and saw instead him fall into the standard right wing, macho Yank tank trap of the typical American Western where the good guys have to kill the bad guys - an eye for an eye. It also clearly set the seeds for the plot of September 11, because he did not look deep enough into the mind of Bin Laden and fundamentalist Islam and address some basic legitimate grievances that they had due to inequality in world's wealth, Israel, and issues of cultural morality. And led to a quasi-tyranny under the Republican government that took this military mentality to an absolute and dangerous extreme bordering dictatorship. In 2003 we saw how right wing America had become under the Republicans when they invaded Iraq under spurious grounds of weapons of mass destruction, then never left. An oil baron President who set up companies in Iraq who he had direct interests in, for instance Haliburton, then enforced massive reparations against Iraq and finally took control of its oil production. This was all further reinforced by concentration camps set up to torture people and in America legislation such as the Patriot Act that stripped away basic fundamental rights and freedoms and allowed indiscriminate wire tapping and other invasions of privacy.

Before the collapse of the Roman Empire there was a period where Christianity was adopted as the legitimate religion replacing the pantheistic collection of Gods and Goddesses and there was an opportunity in that world to spread the message of Christ peacefully. In 312 ad
Constintine, (who had a Christian mother, and was a possibly illegitimate son of Constantius, one of the four emperors who briefly together ruled Rome), faced an usurper Maxentius. He saw Christ’s cross, defeated Max and became a quasi-Christian.

Like the demilitarising of the world today, Constantine removed the weapons of the Roman and Greek gods. He apparently did not fully convert to Christianity until on his death bed, instead during his reign he brought together the cult of Sol
Invictus and Jesus, largely to break the power of the pagan temples.

He took an inventory of the pagan temples’ possessions throughout the Empire in 331 ad, then destroyed their economic power through taxation. He also separated civil and military administration, reformed the senate and removed the right of masters to arbitrarily execute slaves. Constantine did, however, cruelly put to death his son and wife when he suspected them of plotting against him. It was at this time of the social, economic and military height of the Roman Empire, that Constantine split the Empire. Christian Constantinople, the Empire of the East, was created from this pagan-destroying revenue. This was the only part of the Roman Empire to survive the barbarian invasions.

However, after Constantine’s successor
Constantius II, the next Roman Emperor was a pagan Julian the Apostate. He reverted back to the rule of the gods and military might. He was a neo-Platonist who tried to incorporate "the strictly orientated all loving morality of the Christ" within the mysticism of Plato and the gods. Knowing the devoutness of the Christians to monotheism, he tried to prevent Christian teachers from holding positions at schools. He argued that it was impossible to teach against your faith and remain sincere.

[A peace protest at the DOE Nevada Test Site Photo: Jim Peters]

Clinton while starting his Presidency like a Constantine ended up as a Julian. He reverted back to the traditional right wing policies of America in the 80s. His enlightened Social Reforms when he first came to office were greatly diminished. His welfare programs were largely blocked in the Republican controlled parliament. But executive decisions, not subject to the Houses’ voting, that he could have made in relation to defence, he did not make. Instead of following through with the full potential of a complete disarmament process following the end of the ‘cold war’, he reverted back to the security of ‘quasi-militarism’; just as Julian sought refuge in reconverting his Empire to paganism partly to appease the right wing Senators in Rome.

Bellona activists protesting against the nuclear weapon tests near Novaya Zemlya in October 1990.Photo: Thomas Nilsen]

Clinton allowed the Russians to sit on the Start II Treaty for 7 years which the Russians did not ratify until after the end of his administration. The Russians wanted to get a proper treaty going so reducing nuclear weapons further. They also wished to avoid America withdrawing from the 1972 ABM Treaty and so developing a small-scale anti-missile defence system. Clinton wanted to stick to the old treaty and continue developing a missile defence system. Under Bush and Putin absolutely, as to be expected, nothing has happened apart from further confrontation on the anti-missile defence system. In fact America's unenlightened fascism in dealing with the war on terror often in breach of the Geneva Convention directly led to Putin being able to get away with his government reverting in part back to an old style Soviet totalitarianism in Russia where freedom of speech and the press has been curtailed even if capitalism in part remains. Another opportunity to bring Russia into the Western democratic fold was squandered by inept handling of them and a failure to adequately financially assist that new capitalist nation.

Clinton did too little, too late and what little that was done is no compensation for the failure to ban land mines. Little was really done to financially entice India and Pakistan out of the arms race and rectify third world poverty and end nuclear proliferation. His failure to deal with Kashmir led to a minor war there with India in 1999 and Pakistan testing its A-bomb, which in turn led to the military coupe and end of democratic rule in Pakistan. But unlike Julian the Apostate and the recalcitrant Christian teachers who he banned from teaching, Clinton seemed to believe you can preach what you do not practice, as he continued to advocate world peace. His only limited successes were in Palestine and Ireland; and only one of those survived him.

In Rome a reversion back to moderate Christianity in 364 AD was too late to save the Western Empire. Despite more and more limitations being placed on pagan temples and festivities, sacrifices being banned, and attempts to integrate the more devout and less vile of the pagan beliefs into Christianity, giving citizenship to everyone in the Empire including many barbarians, this did not stop and may have encouraged the final disintegration of the Empire in the early 5
th century. The morale of the Christian Romans was broken by the confused interruption of Julian. The compromises after that which were interwoven into the empire to placate both sides were too little and too late to stop the barbarians pushed west by Atilla the Hun - the equivalent of China today. Some historians would disagree saying it was Rome's surrender to Christianity's pacifism (whose saviour was an anti-Roman martyr) and equality that sealed Rome's fate by destroying its class system based on the gods and so emasculated it and set it up for defeat by the 'demos' rabble and barbarians who were made defacto citizens.

America under Bush remained under another Apostate. A pseudo-Christian. No attempt to reconvert the Empire has occurred under Bush in fact he has reinforced the vile pagan practices of an eye for an eye and reliance on militarism. He has done nothing to redistribute wealth to the poor and so has built up the pagan temples of materialism and greed combined with cultivating fear in America's middle class based on his war on terror. He has reduced civil liberties justifying fighting this war. It is as if the September 11 attack was like the first successful raid by the barbarians to penetrate the defences of Rome itself. The core of the elite of the Empire has been attacked and this for Rome shortly spelt the end of its empire.

America today has the opportunity to reconvert the Empire but not to do it the half hearted way that the Romans did after Julian and which failed. But instead to reconvert to a true Christianity based on the person that Jesus was, a pacifist, and in fact to go beyond Christianity itself to a much deeper richer and greater truth that unites all faiths and science in a new spirituality. Through this new faith in a new America and in a new World, destroy the power base of the global arms industry and like Constantine with the pagans this could be done through audits, taxation and redirection of funds from the latter day pagan temples of defence revenue and the ultra wealthy, to building weapons of peace - aid packages to Africa, Latin America, Russia, Kashmir, Afghanistan, North Korea and Iraq, environmental and anti-poverty programs within the US. It could put together a treaty with the U.N. that would require countries to drastically reduce their arms production, with united sanctions against those who did not comply. If America fails to initiate these kind of changes it is in danger of losing not just its credibility as a nation much like the Romans did when they reverted back to paganism, even if only for a brief time, then reconverted.

For America to lose the impetus now may be far more damaging than she realises and subsequent attempts to rectify the situation, like for the Christian Western Roman Empire one and a half
millennia ago, may not be enough to save her. History unfortunately has a habit of repeating itself until its lessons are learned. Asia in the form of China and India look set to economically overtake America in fifty years. If she has not set the right seeds for democracy, world peace and equality when she has the chance to do so through internal changes and using the UN, once these regions gain power in the world, the opportunity to guide them may be lost. With Climate Change and an energy crisis pretty much a reality now and leading to increases in food prices world wide that could trigger world hunger and starvation, the stakes are very high. Proactive legislation supporting the UN including transferring Iraq to UN Islamic peacekeepers is required now, so too is redirecting the billions spent by the US military on Iraq and using that money to stabilise world food shortages and reduce green house gases before climate change devastates not just Australia's agriculture but countless nations across the world. This must be combined with further attempts to democratise China, India and Indonesia - bringing in the rule of law to end endemic corruption - Christian morality is an essential key to this process, however it will not succeed unless it is radically reformed by integrating in the Eastern religions. The world needs to evolve an organisation dedicated to achieving this. If this is not done when China and India gain world economic control, we may like the Romans fall into a dark age where the barbarian hordes and the Huns of the East destroy our great Western democratic civilisation.

Despite America’s record growth under Clinton, the rot beneath this facade has already set in during the Bush years of laissez faire economics - with trillions of dollars in deficit, a stock market in the jitters after the subprime mortgage collapse, unspeakable world terrorism, the final end of a redundant President who still talks of revenge and war rather than 'turning the other cheek' and a previous Presidency where perjury and sexual misconduct were not considered impeachable offences. But it was the failure to take ‘the peace initiative’ coming from a Democrat like Clinton, which somehow makes it all the more sad, as it indeed led the way to George Bush's reign and the worst terrorist attack in history. This suggests that perhaps Clinton's party and himself will largely be remembered as having ended the millenia and his office by developing the standard right wing American anti-personal mind. And this is why there is such a crucial opportunity now to rectify the damage done by Clinton that led to the Democrats losing power to Bush. It seemed only fitting that that damage should be undone by none other than his wife, Hillary, as Vice President to the radical intellectual Afro-American Barrack Obama. Either way we needed them both as they both represent a turning point to humanity in race and gender. But Obama let that opportunity go, not just to his own loss but possibly for us all.

However there is still a slim chance of hope as Hillary has been made Secretary of State and most of America's damage revolves round international politics. So if Hillary can see beyond her husband's errors and if Obama now as President can grasp the peace initiative in the war on terror and holistically transfer it across the entire spectrum of disarmament world wide, then perhaps Fritjof Capra's Turning Point for humanity can become a reality - and an exponential growth in human consciousness may be permitted to evolve. From these seeds of hope great watermelons may bare fruit in for instance East Timor for one (a typical new nation ravaged by war and poverty as a result of neo-Colonialism), and maybe some of the inequalities in the world's wealth may be more justly resolved and it may just be possible for a new social system to take a foothold in humanity's brain.

Julian the Apostate made the mistake of invading Persia, was betrayed and surrounded then mortally wounded, where we are told he exclaimed, "thou hast conquered, o’ Galilean". In this respect as an irony to my whole thesis, in fact by analogy Clinton has transformed himself to Bush, such that Bush has become the Apostate who invaded Iraq, roughly where Julian was killed on the way to Baghdad or Babalyon in those days. It is now up to Obama to avoid being the third victim and Apostate to be destroyed by the Middle East. It is up to him to use the Clinton's wisdom to redirect the world back to peace. It is up to him to appoint females to high office. It is up to him to provide proper support and health care to America's own impoverished class. It is up to him to be the 'change' he so cherished in his campaign. When is America going to learn that we create the reality, which later effects us? Probably only when ET comes home and Darth Vader is defeated by the Jedi Knights, and something really ridiculous like George Bush Jnr the ex-President supporting the banning of land mines. Or a black becomes President? Or a woman Vice President? What with Obama and Osama sounding almost the same who knows maybe for once we can live those words 'love thy enemy as thyself'. Or both?? Could it be in ten years time Obama's wife might be running so all prejudices can be put to death in yankee doodle land?

For a system (in evolution) to bring about these changes to humanity's religion, economy, society and environment called UOCA go to