Saturday, 12 November 2016

Donald Trump Will be the Next U.S. President. God Help Us All.

Election Day in the U.S. this past Tuesday was shocking and appalling to say the least. After all was said and done, Donald Trump, a man who has openly called for banning Muslims from the U.S., who has made countless remarks demeaning women, visible minorities, disabled people and even war veterans, and who has bragged about sexually assaulting and harassing women will be the next President of the United States, the most powerful nation-state on Earth. I see dark times ahead; very dark times indeed.

The fallout from Trump's election has already begun. In fact, even before the official result of the election was announced, Canada's Ministry of Immigration website crashed after being overwhelmed with Americans looking for information on how to immigrate to their good neighbour to the north. The day after the election became a day of hate as bigots across the country became emboldened by the election of a man that seems to think just like them (see: Day 1 in Trump's America). Protests against Trump's election have taken place all over the U.S. and some of them have turned violent. All this has happened in the span of just a few days and Trump hasn't even set foot in the Oval Office yet! Imagine what will happen when he does. I can imagine what's coming and it's not a pretty picture.

Within the first year of his presidency, mass deportations of suspected illegal immigrants will begin and will not end until millions are kicked out of U.S. territory. Trump will show no mercy to those who have come to America seeking better lives for themselves and their children, for in his mind these people are all criminals. And unfortunately they won't be the only ones forced to leave as a result of Trump's policies. Their misery will be echoed overseas by multitudes of Ukrainians and perhaps others in eastern Europe as Putin's Russia celebrates the beginning of the Trump administration by seizing more territory.  Meanwhile in the rest of Europe, the rise of anti-immigrant, pro-fascist politics will be getting a big boost. There will undoubtedly be a lot more bigots and xenophobes filling the seats of Europe's governments and legislatures.

Trump's foreign policy will make much of the world a lot more vulnerable to attacks by power-hungry dictatorships, like Russia, China and Iran. Trump's unwillingness to protect America's allies if they don't pay what he thinks they should will inevitably mean an exodus of U.S. military forces from key strategic areas. In the far east, Trump will pull U.S. forces out of South Korea and Japan, leaving the two countries and the whole region vulnerable to attack by an increasingly aggressive China. Trump will also pull American forces stationed in Europe out at the same time Putin grabs more territory on the continent. In the Middle East, as if the situation in Syria isn't bad enough in light of current U.S. President Barack Obama's ineptitude, it will become worse once Trump takes office. He'll do even less than Obama has done and leave the Syrians to suffer and die under constant bombardment by the forces of the country's dictator, Bashar Al-Assad and his Russian allies. As for the rest of the Middle East, Trump will likely sit on the sidelines as failed states like Iraq and Yemen descend further into chaos. After all, he doesn't really see the region as a worthwhile investment (see: Foreign Ministry: 'Trump doesn't see the Middle East as a "wise investment"').

All this I see happening in just the first half of Trump's presidency. And if you think it's bad, it will only get worse; catastrophically worse. As I've said in previous posts, I believe that Donald Trump will put the world on the fast track to World War III. The reason for this is because although Trump will preside over very isolationist foreign and military policies, growing Russian, Chinese and Iranian aggression will eventually force his hand. And once his ego collides with leaders like Vladimir Putin, God help us all! 

Monday, 7 November 2016

My Advice for Americans as They Vote for a New President: Hold Your Noses and Vote for Hillary

I really don't envy American voters right now, because tomorrow when they vote for a new president, they have to choose between a serial liar and a megalomaniac who has proven himself to be a bigot, a chauvinist and a sexual predator. I've only been around for less than forty years and I've only been politically aware since my early teens, but I must say that this year's U.S. Presidential campaign has been the absolute worst I have ever seen. Not only do Americans have a horrible choice to make, but the campaign has polarized the country so badly that I don't know if the United States can truly be united again.

It's a sharp contrast from eight years ago, when a youthful, charismatic politician named Barack Obama managed to unite Americans of every background in order to get himself elected president. If you've read some of my previous posts, you know that I am not a fan of Obama, but I have to respect a man who has been able to unite so many people and give them hope, because that's a hard thing to do for any would-be leader. In contrast, all Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have managed to do is divide the country. This has been a campaign filled with hatred. Each candidate's supporters have no respect for each other, although I'm not surprised since the two candidates have no respect for one another either.

In my opinion, neither Clinton nor Trump make an ideal candidate for the so-called leader of the free world. So what should U.S. voters do when the go to the polls tomorrow? Well, they should probably do what most voters do when faced with a choice they don't like; vote for the lesser of evils. And in the case of tomorrow's election, I believe that Hillary Clinton is the lesser of evils between herself and Donald Trump. Yes, she may spin more lies than you can count, but at least she's rational and not the kind of loose cannon that Trump is. Indeed, in a post last February, when both Clinton and Trump were still fighting for their respective parties' nominations, I warned that if Trump is elected the next U.S. President, he may set the world on a fast track to World War III (see: What If Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders Becomes the Next President: A Grim Future Awaits the World Either Way), not to mention what he would do to the U.S. itself, where he has already empowered bigots and fascists all over the country. So if Americans want to avoid an epic disaster for the next four years, my best advice for them is to elect Hillary Clinton the next President of the United States. She's far from perfect, but I don't think her leadership will lead the U.S. to disaster the way Trump's would.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Prime Minister Netanyahu: Do the Right Thing and Give Non-Orthodox Jews Their Rights at the Kotel

Anyone who has taken the time to read my posts on Israel should know that I am a big admirer of our current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.  I agree with him on most things and always trust him to protect our country from all who threaten it.  But I'm afraid I have to profoundly disagree with the way he has dealt with non-Orthodox Jewish movements in the country.  In a recent Facebook post, he scorned members of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements for marching with Torah scrolls at the Western Wall. They were protesting the Prime Minister's refusal to give them a place at Judaism's holiest site where they can pray as they choose, without the restrictions imposed by the country's Orthodox Jewish monopoly (see: Violent outbreaks at the Kotel between orthodox and liberals).  Prime Minister Netanyahu's Facebook post said, "The unilateral violation of the status quo at the Western Wall this morning undermines our ongoing efforts to reach a compromise."

I don't know what ongoing efforts Bibi is referring to, because ever since the religious parties in his coalition threatened to bring down the government over the proposal to create a non-segregated space at the Kotel for non-Orthodox Jews to pray in, he has sat on his hands and done nothing. Instead, he has allowed the religious establishment to blackmail him just as they have blackmailed other prime ministers throughout Israel's history. This isn't the Bibi I know, because the Bibi I know does whatever he feels is necessary to protect the country. He has no problem standing up to U.S. President Barack Obama or any other world leader when it comes to Israel's interests. He does what he believes is best for the country, and if the international community doesn't like it, well, too bad. Yet the Israeli Prime Minister who has no fear in confronting the whole international community to defend Israel's interests is also the same Prime Minister who won't stand up to a few overzealous religious leaders who fear losing their power to control how Judaism is practiced in the country. How does this make sense? Yes, I understand that Bibi risks losing his coalition government if he stands up to the religious bullies that don't want any sort of compromise that would allow non-Orthodox Jews to worship at the Kotel as they please. But I don't think this should scare him, because he still has the courage to stand up to Obama, even though the Neville Chamberlain-esque president's administration has tried to unseat him as Israel's leader (see: US-funded resources used in 2015 campaign to unseat Netanyahu).

Besides, even if the religious members of the coalition carried out their threat to leave the government and possibly trigger new elections, Bibi would have the opportunity to prove himself as the person who can stand up to the tyranny of Israel's Orthodox establishment, just as he has proved himself as the leader best suited to stand up to Israel's enemies. I believe that our prime minister wants to do the right thing and allow non-Orthodox Jews to worship at the Western Wall as they see fit. He just has to find the courage to do it - the same courage he uses to defend Israel on the world stage.  

Update: November 3, 2016 - Our brothers in the religious Zionist movement support the right of non-Orthodox denominations to their own space at the Kotel: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4874299,00.html