Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cuba As A Case Study

After the actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Lebanon it seems to be clearly evident that at the end of the end of the day, military action may end a regime but it doesn't change attitudes. One could dethrone the Taliban, Saddam, and kill Hezbollah senior leadership, but if the local public still agree with what they stood for, the fighting will not end.

Change has to come from inward if local attitudes are to change. Imposing a new political system doesn't seem to work. What about this approach: Long term sanctions and patience are the key to fighting corrupt regimes.

Fidel Castro won't live much longer, and his "revolution" could very well end with his death. Even the most ardent supporters of his regime support Castro more so than his political system. Would they trust a one man government if that one man at the top wasn't Castro? I doubt it. Of course I don't even have to mention how the pro-democratic parties in the country feel about having a democracy.

Patience, however, is not a strong point when it comes to American foreign policy. Generally speaking, Presidents want and need results, for reasons ranging from politics to legacy. It would take real leadership for a President to say in his 8 years in office, he plans to do nothing about Cuba. For his time in office, he's just going to keep the status quo and wait them out. For his policy to work, the man/woman who follows him would be expected to do the impossible: the same thing.

If after Castro dies and Cuba begins a democratic process, then we might be able to start looking at Cuba as a case study.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Exercise in Futility

Three thoughts:

-I'm of the mind that Israel is partly responsible for what has happened to it this week. Firstly,Israel should have never set the precedent for trading prisoners in 2004 by trading hundreds of terrorists for a single Israeli businessman, an Israeli colonel, and the remains of Israeli soldiers. That action could only have helped Hamas and Hezbollah think that kidnapping Israeli infantrymen could gain further benefits.

-Does Israel have an exit strategy? For now Israel is content to launch missiles and mortars at Hezbollah positions (whether it is hitting them is another story. Reuters is reporting that of the 204 so deaths in Lebanon about 190 of them were civilians.) Does Israel want to go so far as to invade Lebanon with tanks and infantry and then threaten the fragile democracy in Lebanon? I doubt this, because they're smart enough to know that this will pave the way for Syria to regain influence in the country. Israel has to decide if it wants to go so far as to occupy Lebanon, or just shell southern Lebanon from Israel. The latter will have no effect on stopping Hezbollah though, the stated purpose of the military operations. If Israel really wanted to stop Hezbollah, the only way it could really cripple it would be by regime change in Syria and Iran. Something Israel is not capable of doing.

Israel's only real option (that will achieve the operation's goal) will probably have to be inserting special ops, and use them to take out Hezbollah leadership and/or weaken the terrorist group. Thus allowing the Lebanese military to fight Hezbollah on more equal grounds. However, that would take real leadership from Lebanon, which seems highly unlikely given the Lebanese public's view of Hezbollah.

However, in the end, one has to wonder if the IDF has ever heard of the Iraq War before. Conventional warfare in the name of fighting Islamic extremism hasn't worked out too well there...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Fantasy Dictatorship Draft

If you're tired of alot of those "normal" fantasy drafts like I am (exception being the ones where you draft upcoming movies and win by how much they gross in theatres) have I got a new fantasy draft for you.

Here's how it works:

1. Draft some dictatorships.
2. You can only have two dictatorships "starting" at a time.
3. Drink some beer, and pray for global instability...your league standings depend on it.
4. Tally your points.
5. Drink more beer, and savor your genius.

The Point System
Reprimand from NGO--- .5 points.
Reprimand from U.S. gov't agency---1 pt.
Reprimand from UN Security Council or UN Human Rights Council---2 pts.
Sanctions (Trade, Political, or Travel)---3 pts. every six months.
Revealed clandestine wetworks by U.S. gov't against said dictatorship---4 pts.
Missile Strike by U.S.---4 pts.
Missile Strike by ally(NATO, Japan, or Australia)---4.5 pts.
Land invasion by U.S.---7 pts.
Land invasion by ally---8 pts.

The Dictatorships (and how many points it costs to draft them)

Iran 10 pts., North Korea 11 pts., China 7 pts., Zimbabwe 3 pts., Myanmar 6 pts., Cuba 5 pts., Pakistan 5 pts., Saudia Arabia 5 pts., Syria 8 pts., Sudan 8 pts., Vietnam 3 pts., Egypt 4 pts., Tunisia 3 pts., Somalia 6 pts., Libya 4 pts., Belarus 4 pts., Uzbekistan 4 pts., Tajikstan 3 pts., and Kazakstan 3 pts.

The drafter only gets 7 pts. with which to draft his dictatorships. The points that are earned not only count in the standings, but can also be saved to draft new dictatorships. So if you want one of the big dogs, like Iran or the DPRK, you better save up. A drafter can also trade in a dictatorship for half the value he drafted it for, and those points can be put towards drafting a new dictatorship.