Nancy Bordier's blog
Nancy Bordier and Joseph M. Firestone
Our thesis is that the violence engulfing the Middle East is driven primarily by political and economic factors. The roots of this violence derive from complex chains of political and economic causes. Prominent among the causes is indigenous populations' lack of civil, political and human rights, and their inability to compel their governments to provide basic necessities, education, job skills, living wage jobs, and wealth creating opportunities providing lifelong financial security.
In addition, Western governments' political, economic and military interventions in the Middle East in support of extractive industries such as oil, when coupled with their alliance with oppressive regimes in the region, compounded the difficulties faced by indigenous populations plagued by systemic injustice and poverty. The failure of efforts to bring peace to the troubled relationships between Palestinians and Israelis added an inflammatory mix of religious, communal and tribal tensions to the political and economic roots of the violence.
While the recent popular uprising in the Middle East known as the "Arab Spring" initially appeared to pave the way to the political and economic enfranchisement of indigenous populations, the rigidity of traditional political institutions prevented the development of a consensus among the protagonists about how to translate popular discontent into broad-based consensus-building and democratic decision-making processes. The result was a rapid restoration of the prior political status quo, as in the case of Egypt, while elsewhere anarchy prevailed and failed states unable to maintain law and order emerged, such as in Libya. Read more about Politically and Economically Driven Middle East Violence: How the Web Can Stop It
The outbreak of another Western-led military conflict in the Middle East is widely viewed as unwinnable. It is also viewed as counterproductive because of its potential to help its target, ISIL, the anti-Western fanatical social movement, recruit new volunteers in its crusade to topple Middle East regimes.
My view, as a political scientist, is that none of the players currently involved can bring peace or stability to the region. The "perpetual war" the protagonists appear to be unleashing is more likely to cause even more human suffering and displacement in the region on a scale previously unimaginable.
It is also my view that the failure of Middle East regimes to create functioning democracies that accord fundamental civil and political liberties to their populaces has created a barbaric monster born of hatred and rage for the regimes and their Western allies. ISIL's leadership is using its misrepresentation and misappropriation of Islam to recruit aggrieved and in certain cases mentally deranged individuals to its cause, instigating them to commit acts of barbarism not only in Iraq and Syria but throughout the world.
Since war is not the answer, and the majority of the regimes involved do not have functioning democracies enabling their citizens to govern their countries, what I and many others foresee is perpetual internecine warfare among the players until the entire region is devastated. The only solution I can envisage to preventing this region-wide quagmire of human misery is the bottom-up technological solution that I propose below. First, let me explain why I believe it may well provide the only possibility for ending the conflicts and bringing peace to the region and the world. Read more about A Bottom-Up Solution to Cross-Border Conflicts: The Case of the Middle East and ISIL
Last week, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) abruptly announced his intention to retire from the Senate in 2014, on the heels of Harry Reid's failure to get the two parties to agree to reform the Senate's notorious filibuster after the 2012 election.
According to Harkin, the failure of filibuster reform will make it "virtually impossible" for Obama to carry out his vision for his second term. Read more about Un-Corrupting Congress: A System-Changing Solution
Many interacting factors caused the Giffords assassination attempt. No single factor suffices to explain it. However, the acts and omissions of the U.S. Congress and the nation's two major political parties are among the most significant of these interacting causes. They include the following:
1. Congressional refusal to pass campaign finance reform legislation to prevent elections from being dominated by special interests, like the National Rifle Association, and U.S. politics from being dominated by vitriolic diatribes between politicians and pundits aimed at raising special interest campaign funds and inflaming and dividing the electorate in order to win elections; Read more about Congressional responsibility for the Giffords assassination attempt
In October, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that industry leaders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere were disgusted with Washington D.C. and the two party system. He reported that "at least two serious groups" on the East and West coasts were "'developing third parties' to challenge our stagnating two-party duopoly that has been presiding over our nation's steady incremental decline."
Friedman also predicted that "there is going to be a serious third party [presidential] candidate in 2012, with a serious political movement behind him or her -- one definitely big enough to impact the election's outcome". Read more about No Labels + Americans Elect = Bloomberg?
Voters did not get what they said they wanted from the 2010 elections. In fact, they got the opposite because the two major parties rigged the elections.
The parties have been rigging elections for decades by gerrymandering election districts and passing campaign financing and election laws that prevent third party candidates from beating major party candidates. Read more about How Voters Can Unrig the 2012 Elections with Transpartisan Voting Blocs and Electoral Coalitions
Thomas Friedman wrote in a recent New York Times article, "Third Party Rising", that he is "astounded" by the level of disgust with Washington D.C. and the two party system he has found among industry leaders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. He says he knows of "at least two serious groups" on the East and West coasts "'developing third parties' to challenge our stagnating two-party duopoly that has been presiding over our nation's steady incremental decline."