No Swastikas in COD WW2 Multiplayer… Political Correctness over Historical Accuracy? (11/14/17)

As a person who once thoroughly enjoyed his share of video games, I am dismayed at the recent developments regarding the Call of Duty:WW2 video game.

To those who didn’t know, Call of Duty: WW2, a game in the well-known Call of Duty franchise, was released earlier this month. When reading a review about the game, I learned that Sledgehammer, the leading developer of WW2, made interesting choices about the use of Nazi symbolism in the game.

Essentially, Sledgehammer decided not to include swastikas or Nazi flags in the multiplayer mode of the game. All swastikas were replaced with the traditional German Empire iron cross. The swastikas were kept in the single-player campaign due to the historical story that Sledgehammer wanted to tell, but for the multiplayer mode, they decided to remove them.

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As seen in this snapshot of the multiplayer gameplay, swastikas have been replaced with the “more conservative” iron cross. (Pic: PC Gamer)

On the swastika removal issue, Sledgehammer co-founder Michael Condrey explained, “In our global community of multiplayer and zombies players, we’ve chosen deliberately not to include [the swastika]. We want the community to play together. We want to be respectful of local customs and laws around the world. And frankly it’s a dark symbol with a lot of emotion behind it we don’t feel matches our multiplayer experience.”

The removal of the swastikas wasn’t the only source of controversy with the game.  Players soon found out that in the multiplayer mode, you would be allowed to play as a black Nazi soldier, and even a female Nazi soldier. Despite being very historically inaccurate, Sledgehammer defended its decision by claiming that the game should be as inclusive as the audience who plays it.

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Another snapchat showing a killed black Nazi in the game’s multiplayer mode. (Pic: Reddit)

While I praise Sledgehammer’s initiative to create a more enjoyable, inclusive and diverse game, I do not agree with its choices.

First, the Call of Duty:WW2 is a game that is historically based. It is about WWII and reveals horrors of war. I think people who play the game should receive historically accurate depictions of World War II.

Second, I understand the horrors associated with the Nazi flag. With the recent controversy concerning the Confederate flag and monuments, I understand Sledgehammer’s worry about including the Nazi flag in the multiplayer aspect of the game. However, we are talking about a video game entered around WWII, and I don’t agree with its choice to exclude it. We are not talking about having the Nazi flag displayed on a monument for the public to see. Sledgehammer’s decision would be akin to making a historical documentary about the Civil War and removing any reference or picture of the Confederate flag. Consumers are not likely to be sensitive about the Nazi flag in a video game about WWII. They are aware that it was part of a very dark history and would not be offended by its portrayal in a war game.

I know you are thinking that this is just a video game. But, I feel that this is an example of political correctness over historical accuracy. Political correctness should not come at the expense of historical accuracy. And this effort by Sledgehammer not to offend anyone clearly comes at a cost of accuracy.

Also, when Condrey stated, “we want the community to play together” and that the Nazi flag doesn’t represent what the multiplayer experience should be, then why create a game mode in which players can play as Nazis? Isn’t the option to play as a Nazi just as bad, if not worse than just displaying the flag? The point is, while the Nazi flag is a symbol of evil, it is still a part of history.

And as for the multi-racial character you can choose to be, once again I think Sledgehammer fell short. Call of Duty game definitely has a wide variety of races and genders playing, but once again, these gamers are aware of the time period of the game. They understand that being a black Nazi soldier would be historically inaccurate, which is why you cannot play as one.

My opinion is simple: you should always try to advance society and promote diversity and inclusiveness, but with a clear and accurate knowledge of history. It’s important that we know our history, the good and the bad, so that we can learn from it. We cannot change history, but we can use it to change the future.

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Enjoy the game, but always be aware of what you’re playing and learn from it. (Pic: Call of Duty)
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More questions/doubts raised for Trump, White House after NYC Terror (11/1/17)

After a little over sixteen years, New York City was once again hit with another terrorist attack.

Tuesday afternoon, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a Uzbekistani man who has been living in the U.S. since 2010, drove a pick up truck into cyclists on a bike path, killing eight and wounding eleven. It was reported that Saipov yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.  Since the attack, we learned that Saipov was radicalised through ISIS propaganda.

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Nearby citizens and investigators look at the scenes of devastation. (Pic: AP)

Controversy arose Wednesday morning when President Trump described the U.S. Justice System as a “joke” and said that U.S. is “a laughing stock” around the world. He declared that he wanted to have a quick and harsh judgment and suggested sending Saipov to the infamous prison Guantanamo Bay. He also announced that he wants to cancel a visa lottery immigration program that he claims “allowed Saipov in” the U.S.

As terrible as it is to say, terrorist attacks seem to bolster Trump’s presidential agenda and talking points. As one who favors a hardline stance on Islamic terrorism, Trump does not hesitate to use terrorist incidents like this one to advance his agenda to limit immigration and to support his travel ban.

As a patriotic person, I want our president to be successful. However, I cannot say that I can support President Trump’s immediate plans after the attack.

While I believe that terrorists and hard criminals deserve harsh punishments for their abhorrent acts, the idea of sending Saipov to GITMO is just too far-fetched. First, no person has been detained in GITMO since 2008, and after many debates over whether to close the prison, it is unlikely this will be able to be done. Second, numerous legal issues would rise from transferring a suspect from New York to GITMO.

Trump’s plan to do away with the visa lottery program is a much more direct and straightforward policy, but like his proposed plan with GITMO, there is no way it can be achieved. The visa lottery program is not new, and this program was created with bilateral support in Congress. In addition, it is important to point out that there is nothing, so far, to indicate that the visa lottery system is allowing terrorists to come into the U.S.  Saipov lived in the U.S. for seven years, and he was radicalised in the U.S.

Trump has had some of his most contested battles with immigration reform during his year of presidency. His travel bans are suspended for the most part and are pending in courts. He was forced to settle on a compromise on DACA in order to avoid a government shutdown. There is little to no talk on the “border wall.”  Given all that has occurred, I simply don’t see immigration reform being passed in the near future. His immigration plans are too divisive, and he will not be able to get the support necessary to pass legislation. Even with rising terrorist attacks, I don’t see the Supreme Court supporting any legislation or executive action unless it is very narrow and serves a real and immediate national security interest.

There have been a lot of distractions for the Trump presidency recently. Where do I even begin? There is the ever-growing spectre of Russian collusion. Two top level people connected to the Trump campaign have been indicted. Another has pled guilty. There are also many investigations into the killing of four American soldiers in Niger. Why were the soldiers there? Why was one of the soldiers left behind for forty-eight hours? Was there an intelligence failure?

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Paul Manafort walks out of the courthouse. Due to looming Russian collusion scandal, the Trump administration has been distracted and unable to focus on important policies. (PIC: AP)

With almost one year in the books, there is a growing sense of urgency for Trump.  Next on Trump’s plate is tax reform. Many of Trump’s supporters must be growing wary of his failed policies and legislations. If he wishes to be more successful, Trump will need to come up with better and more thoughtful legislation, one that comports with the Constitution.

Arrogance gets the best of USMNT, fails to qualify for World Cup (10/12/17)

When the United States men’s soccer team stepped on the field in Trinidad and Tobago, they already knew they had qualified.

Needing just one point to qualify for a playoff World Cup spot against a “B-team” Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. men clearly weren’t sweating it.

Yet, 90 minutes later, what happened?

A disaster.

As the Trinidad team celebrates, the U.S. team looks dazed, unable to contemplate their 2-1 loss to the small island nation.

While millions all over the country were shocked, it is clear to see, when examining this defeat more closely, that there was a multitude of problems right from the start. With poor results against Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama in the fourth and fifth qualifying rounds, it’s clear that this United States team lacked some of the fire that we had seen from previous U.S. teams.

But still, what type of problems caused the USMNT to lose yesterday?

The main problem with the USMNT last night was simply attitude.

Going into the game, the U.S. team had a certain arrogance about the game. Despite their shaky performances throughout the qualifying rounds, many of the players appear to treat this game a “blow off” game and one that they were assured to win.  The players didn’t seem to take the game seriously until the final minutes, and by then, it was way too late.

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Christian Pulisic in utter disbelief after the final whistle. Pulisic was the lone bright-star in the U.S. attack yesterday.  (Pic: Getty Images)

Next was the poor quality of play. Despite a good 4-0 win over Panama last Friday, the U.S. team failed to bring that type of fire and energy to the field against Trinidad. Passing was extremely poor in midfield, and the back four, primarily the two centre-backs, looked incredibly shaky from the start. Effort was also very poor, as many of the USMNT players failed to hustle for the ball in midfield and were slow to pressure the Trinidad team, giving the Trinidadians plenty of time and space to control the ball.

I am not taking anything away from Trinidad and Tobago’s win.  Their players brought heart, intense energy and effort throughout the match. Trinidad had nothing to play for in this game – their qualifying hopes were gone – yet, they still played with enormous passion and emotion.

The question after the 2014 World Cup, in which the U.S. team reached the Round of 16, was how the team could legitimately challenge the German and Argentine teams of the world. That seems to be in the distant past. Now, almost four years later, the question is: how do we get back on track?

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Alvin Jones (#17) celebrates after scoring for Trinidad and Tobago. (Pic: AP)

It is clear changes need to be made.

First, there needs to be a higher sense of responsibility ingrained in the United States players.

In other countries, soccer is literally life or death. Players use soccer to stay out of crime and trouble, and to provide for their families. Also, in smaller professional leagues, some town’s football teams are essential to their economy. Jobs depend on those club teams and, if the players fail to get promoted or stay in the division, their hometowns suffer.

That is not the case in the United States. The MLS, where most of these athletes play, has money poured into it. These players do not have that sense of urgency that other foreign players have. They don’t see qualifying as life or death, and they don’t seem to care as much as they should.

Second, the United States needs to fix its recruiting process. The pay-to-play system clearly is not working. In the U.S., the primary way for a player to get noticed is by joining top, expensive academies.  However, due to the cost prohibitive nature of these academies, many talented, passionate young players who are low income cannot join and their talents goes unnoticed. Soccer is a democratic game.  All you need is a soccer ball and players. Many of the best players in the world grew up poor and played in the streets. There is plenty of talent in the U.S., but not all of it is being seen.  Recruiting needs to be broadened to obtain the best players.

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In most countries, soccer is a sport played in streets or empty fields. But in the U.S., it’s become a suburban, upper-middle class activity. (Pic: SB Nation)

It was definitely the most embarrassing night in U.S. soccer history. That being said, there is no time to hang our heads. The U.S. team’s training for 2022 starts now. Maybe now there will be a sense of urgency.

 

Why I have a problem with athletes protesting the anthem now (9/25/17)

Regardless of whether you are a sports fan or a socially-engaged individual, it is hard to miss the protests that have been erupting all over the American professional sports landscape.

Some athletes in the MLB and NBA, but mostly the NFL, have been “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem as a form of silent protest for the perceived racial inequality in the country. Taking a knee has generated much controversy.

The situation escalated after President Trump expressly espoused the idea of firing athletes who kneel during the anthem. On Sunday, players from many NFL teams kneeled during the anthem (with nearly the entire Steelers team not even showing up on the field) and locked arms in a symbol of unity.

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In a Sunday game against the Bears, the entire Steelers team chose to sit in the locker room during the anthem. Only one member of the team, OT Alejandro Villanueva, came out and stood during the anthem. Villanueva was a former Serviceman. (Pic: AP)

And as a long-time NFL fan, I have to say I am disappointed.

I’d like to first mention that I firmly acknowledge the right these athletes have to protest. I am not doubting their freedom of speech rights, and I am certainly not going argue against the Constitution. That is not the issue.

While I believe that all athletes should stand for the flag, because the flag serves as the symbol of our country and the protection that the U.S. military gives us, I don’t even necessarily have an issue with the athletes protesting. That is not the issue, either.

The issue I have is with the timing of it all.

It’s been over a year since the former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the National Anthem. And while other players followed, they were small in number, and nothing like it was this past Sunday.

I genuinely feel that the large number of players that kneeled on Sunday were just doing it because it was “trending” and the issue was at the forefront.  These players had a year to express their protest, but the majority of them never did.

So, why now?

While I don’t doubt that these NFL players are aware of the major police brutality cases and injustices, I doubt that many of these players believe in this cause strongly enough to kneel during the anthem. It feels as if these athletes didn’t want to stir up unnecessary controversy, but when it was made clear, as on Sunday, that everyone was going to kneel and that it was safe to do so, then they decided to do it.  It doesn’t seem genuine or heartfelt.

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Where were you guys last year? (Pic: USA Today)

As much as I dislike Colin Kaepernick, at least he was genuine and kneeled because he truly wanted to protest inequality and police brutality.  By contrast, I feel that the majority of the NFL players who kneel are just doing it for PR reasons.

And again, I’d like to stress the fact that I don’t believe that all of these athletes did this just because it was the “popular thing to do.” However, some did.  Players, like Martellus Bennett, who had once refused to protest during the anthem and are now choosing this time to attack the President and claim they wouldn’t mind being fired for doing something they believe in, are hypocrites.  They are just doing it because everyone else is.

The main concern I have with this protest is the use of “identity politics.”

I feel that a lot of these players are being pressured into kneeling when they might not necessarily agree with it. Identity politics generalizes groups of people and pressures  a person to think or act a certain way by virtue of his membership in a particular group.  However,  not all people in these groups have the same views or live in the same condition. In America, you should think for yourself and act freely, and you shouldn’t feel pressurized into agreeing with something you might not believe in.

Is America a perfect country?   Absolutely not. While the patriotic side of me would like to say yes, the reasonable, logical and realistic side says no. And while we, as a country, understand that our country has flaws, we also have to be reminded of the great things our country provides and stands for.

So, to the NFL players, next time you think of kneeling, think LONG and HARD about the opportunities this country has given you and decide for yourself if you really want to kneel or not.  Do not feel pressured into kneeling.

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Don’t be afraid to stand if it’s what you truly believe in. (Pic: SI)

 

 

 

“Amnesty Don” (9/15/17)

Outrage sparked from pro-Trump media Wednesday night when news surfaced about President Trump possibly working with Democrats on a deal to protect dreamers.

With Democrats.

Let that sink in.

It didn’t get any better for Trump supporters, when this morning, Trump also seemed to retreat from his famous immigration wall pledge. In a series of tweets, Trump announced that the “wall” would be renovated and fixed from previous fences and walls.  It would not involve an actual construction of a new wall.

 

Pro-Trump media outlets blasted Trump this morning, accusing President Trump of straying from the hardline immigration stance he campaigned and won on.  Because Trump is already so unpopular with the mainstream media, losing the support of the pro-Trump media, which is all he has, could be disastrous for the Trump Administration.

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A pro-Dreamers rally in Texas. (Pic: LBC9 News)

“Amnesty Don” was the title Breitbart News had on its front page, along with a series of articles that slammed Trump for his seemingly softer stance on immigration. Breitbart, which is one of the largest pro-Trump media outlets, has become increasingly critical of the President since Steve Bannon left the White House.

Other well-known Trump supporters voiced their displeasure with Trump, too.

Ann Coulter, who wrote the book “In Trump We Trust,” lambasted Trump’s deal with the Democrats and even joked about impeaching him.  Some Fox News reporters accused Trump of “acting like Obama,” claiming that Trump’s ideas were clearly not America First.

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Ann Coulter, initially one of Trump’s biggest supporters, has since turned on him for retreating from his immigration and healthcare promises. 

The fury from the pro-Trump media raises an essential question: What would happen if the pro-Trump media abandoned Trump?

No doubt, it would be political suicide.

President Trump believes that his supporters are loyal because they have supported him through his many scandals and shenanigans.  However, he doesn’t seem to understand that a large number of voters supported him mainly because of his hardline stance on immigration.  If his immigration stance continues to soften, it’s safe to say that a large portion of Trump’s core support will turn on him.

The reality is that President Trump is not turning into the “Immigration Executioner” that many of his supporters had dreamed he’d turn out to be.  Truthfully, Trump is starting to act like the other Republican candidates he successfully ran against. This is especially problematic, because Trump’s promise of radical change was critical to his victory.

In the 2016 election, many people were weary of Obama and his policies. They felt that America needed a change.  Trump represented that breath of fresh air and promised a radical change in the White House.

But now, eight months into the Trump presidency, Trump’s America doesn’t seem that different from the Obama America.

Racial tensions still run high, and the country is largely divided. Trump has not made repealed and replaced Obamacare, and for now, Obamacare is here to stay and is the law of the land.  Trump’s new stance on immigration seems no different than amnesty espoused by other Republican candidates.  Remember, the then-candidate Trump railing against candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush for supporting amnesty?

It is a critical time for President Trump. While he still has a lot of time left to go in his first term, it’s safe to say that if he doesn’t start enacting some of his campaign promises, such as immigration and tax reform, he could be packing his bags in 2020.

 

 

 

 

Sorry America, no politics in this fight (8/28/17)

It was bound to be a second Mayweather-Pacquiao, right?

So hyped up, yet ultimately so disappointing and so not worth the ridiculous pay-per-view fee.

But, it wasn’t.

Floyd Mayweather v. Conor Mcgregor turned out to be a real, honest-to-goodness fight, and a genuine source of excitement and entertainment.

There was no real way Floyd was going to lose. He was the legend. Undefeated, 49-0, going for his 50th straight victory. This was his sport, and there was no chance he was going to let McGregor, a UFC fighter known for primarily using his feet to fight, show him up.

Yet, with all the odds against him, McGregor didn’t back down. He took it to Mayweather, arguably winning the first three rounds, and taking Mayweather ten, before losing via TKO.

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Floyd Mayweather (right) catches Conor McGregor (left) with a right jab. (Pic: MMAMania)

And while it was the outcome we expected, it was so enjoyable, partly because it was an example of a typical sports story we all love: David vs Goliath.

Even though it’s hard to compare McGregor to David because of his massive physical nature, in this boxing matchup, he was the big underdog, and even though we knew it wasn’t possible, he went out there and competed. He embraced the persona of the “little guy” and served as an inspiration to small guys everywhere, showing them courage and perseverance.

The best part of the fight, though?

No politics.

It didn’t seem that the fight would be politics-free, though. Both athletes had notably commented on political issues in the country.

Conor McGregor was caught singing along to “F*** Donald Trump” and has stated numerously in interviews that Trump should “shut his big fat mouth”.

Mayweather also made headlines when he called out former-NFL player Colin Kaepernick for protesting the national anthem. He also spoke about the importance of cops, calling for the black community to trust the police more.

For awhile, massive sporting events or spectacles have been used to prove a political agenda. Since Trump’s election, numerous celebrities have used their powerful status to broadcast messages of disapproval towards the current president. And while it’s good that athletes are engaging socially and politically in the world, recently, the atmosphere in the United States has been too rife with politics.

Sports has always served as a symbol of fun and entertainment. People play sports for fun and to escape reality.

Due to the political partisanship and division in the world today, politics has infiltrated the sports world.  But the fight on Saturday was a reminder of just how enjoyable sports are meant to be and that no matter how bad things get, sports will always serve as a symbol of fun.

 

 

 

The subtle consequence of Charlottesville (8/18/17)

For the past week or so, one city has prominently been in the news: Charlottesville.

Charlottesville is known as the home to the University of Virginia, one of the best public universities in the United States.

But Charlottesville’s name became synonymous with terror after an attack on counter-protestors occurred on August 12, resulting in the death of a counter protester. Counter protestors took the streets of Charlottesville to protest against a white nationalist/Neo-Nazi march, which had begun the night before allegedly to “oppose the removal of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s statue.”

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The possible removal of the Robert E. Lee statue was cited as the main reason for the white nationalist protest. (Pic: AP)

Controversy erupted when President Trump, commenting on the Charlottesville attack, failed to denounce by name, white nationalists and Neo-Nazis, and suggested that the counter protesters, who opposed these hate groups were equally at fault in the violence that occurred. And while Trump, feeling overwhelming pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, did later denounce the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, he then did a complete turn around and retracted that statement and defended his original comment that the counter protesters were equally at fault.

And while there were heavy consequences for Trump and for the alt-right movement, there is one consequence of Charlottesville that has been vastly overlooked: the consequence and effect on the Republican party.

Trump won the election partly because many Americans were dissatisfied with what the Democratic party had become. Many felt that Democratic party was out of touch and that it no longer represented their interests. Many felt that the party had moved too far left and that American ideals were being lost. In addition, people were unhappy with the Obama administration and decided it was time for change. And while Trump seemed erratic, many viewed the Republican party as more moderate and true than the Democratic party.

However, after the attack in Charlottesville, the Republican party is now dangerously close to becoming identified as increasingly radical. The Republican party cannot afford to be even perceived as sympathetic toward the radical-right cause.

Trump needs to remember that he represents the entire Republican party. While his reluctance to denounce the white nationalist groups may seem like it only hurts his legacy,  the Republican party will also suffer.

If the Republican party doesn’t denounce outright and explicitly the alt-right, then it’s game over. No matter how left the Democratic party has become, most Americans will not want to be associated with a political party that has factions that support Neo-Nazism and white supremacy.

It’s imperative to remember that the ideals of Neo-Nazism are as un-American as they get, and that the majority of the United States does not condone this hatred.

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Remember what ideals we were fighting for, and what ideals we were fighting against in WW2? (Pic:BN)

 

The President needs to understand that his actions have far-reaching consequences, and that if he continues to be careless, the Republicans can kiss their majorities goodbye.

 

 

Situation with North Korea could be helpful for Trump and America’s cause (8/10/17)

While there may be initial protests by some over the prospect of war, if a war were to start, it could oddly serve as a morale booster for a country, and, if successful, a popularity boost for the president.

If we’re being totally honest, war, or in the broader sense, conflict, could be a unifying cause.

For example, after the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, President George H. W. Bush saw his approval rating skyrocket to 89%. When the successful NATO bombing campaign of Yugoslavia ended in June of 1999, Bill Clinton saw his approval rating go up to 60% after it had been in the low 50s for some time. And of course, George W. Bush, after Sept. 11, and after his invasion of Afghanistan in October, saw his approval rating go to record numbers of around 80-90%.

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The success in the Persian Gulf War skyrocketed H.W. Bush’s approval rating to record heights. Here, Bush announces the end of the Gulf War. (Pic: History.com)

So, as odd and insidious as it might sound, if the current North Korean crisis does escalate to a major, or even minor conflict, Trump could see his approval ratings and popularity rise if he handles the situation decisively and successfully.

And while approval ratings don’t necessarily tell the entire story of a presidency, high approval ratings could do wonders for Trump, who does care about how the entire United States feels about him, even if he acts like he only cares about his base.

Yes, the nuclear threat from North Korea is alarming, but what if the conflict never gets that serious, and Trump is able to get North Korea to back down? Not only could this do wonders for the Trump presidency, but it could work to unify the country. After all, what would unify a country more than defeating a universally acknowledged enemy?

There is a massive social and political divide in this country. It seems there are not even “small” issues that both sides can agree on. If the U.S. were to step up and resolve this conflict with North Korea, that divide could begin to repair, and a more common ground could be reached.

Now, that being said, I am by no means suggesting a major conflict with North Korea would be good, or even necessary. I am against war. What I’m saying is, if this conflict can be handled decisively by the U.S., it could be a major win for the country and for President Trump who really needs a win.

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Can Trump make Kim blink first? (Pic: CNN) 

 

 

 

Weighing the options of a possible invasion of North Korea (8/9/17)

On January 29, 2002, then-president George W. Bush used the term ‘axis of evil’ when he grouped together three countries: Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. This axis was used to describe three countries that, to the Bush administration, possessed a grave threat to the free world, either by seeking out weapons of mass destruction, sponsoring terrorism, or committing human rights violations.

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Flashback: Bush recaps early progress of the War on Terror and proclaims Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are part of an “axis of evil”. (Pic: The NYT)

For a while, Iran and Iraq dominated the headlines, and it seemed like North Korea, while dangerous, was not an imminent or a true threat.

However, in recent years, North Korea has become increasingly more bellicose and unstable, if that’s even possible. Recently, global alarm bells have been blaring as North Korea continues to make significant progress in launching or firing a long distance nuclear weapon. North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-Un, also continues to make threats to the United States, South Korea, Japan, and any other country that crosses its path.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” U.S. President Donald Trump told the media at his golf club in New Jersey, where he is spending much of the month on a “working vacation.” “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

To the history buffs out there, this pronouncement by Trump sounds similar to a statement made by the 33rd President Harry Truman to the American public about Japan near the end of World War II.

Truman’s exact words were, “If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.”

While the scenarios are different, Trump’s message is ominously clear: the U.S. would take major action if the North Koreans continued to threaten its or its allies’ interests.

While it’s unclear exactly what Trump will do if the North Koreans continue to “mess around”, one thing is for certain, an attack, or a possible invasion, to topple the Kim regime, unprovoked, is not a good idea.

Unless North Korea initiates an attack on the United States, or a close ally, there’s just simply too much to lose if the United States gets bogged down in a big conflict with North Korea.

Here’s why the United States should, for now, not take military action against North Korea.

First, there’s the issue of China.

It is no secret that the U.S. is in the midst of a “Cold War 2” with Russia and China. A U.S. invasion of North Korea could unnecessarily provoke China, who, for better or worse, remains an ally of North Korea, mainly for economic reasons. China also has many reasons for not supporting an invasion of North Korea, one of them being the possibility of a North Korean immigration influx that could occur in China if thousands of North Koreans chose to flee their country. While the United States certainly doesn’t like the current scenario with North Korea, a far worse scenario might be starting a conflict with China.

Second, there’s the mass “human loss” that would occur if the U.S. invaded North Korea. Because North Korea will throw their entire country behind the war cause, the conflict, while winnable for the U.S., would be protracted and would likely result in millions of lives lost. No one wants that. Especially after the Iraq War, there is no stomach for a war, especially if North Korea hasn’t made the initial attack. Right now, North Korea is no worse than Iraq before 2003, which had made threats to the U.S., but had not carried them out. There’s just no reason to risk lives of millions when the North Koreans haven’t initiated an attack.

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When the U.S. toppled Saddam in 2003, it was a major victory, but looking back on it, we weren’t prepared for post-Saddam Iraq. And as more and more lives continued to be lost and war costs kept rising, we began to ask, “was the world better off before or after the war?” (Pic: The Federalist) 

Finally, there’s the issue of post-Kim North Korea itself, which in reality, is just too uncertain to solve. There would be humanitarian aid and reconstruction effort to rebuild not just  North Korea, but other parts of the world affected, which would be so massive, it would likely take decades to complete. The use of nuclear weapons in the conflict, which is highly likely, would like decimate millions, and the fallout would take years to clean up.

Also, as I touched on earlier, there’s the issue of a refugee crisis with millions of displaced North Koreans, largely poor and unskilled. Where would they go, and how would they adjust to their new lives, after having been brainwashed by the Kim regime?  There would also be issues involving what to do with North Korea itself. Do we reunify the Koreas, or do we keep North Korea as is, and if so, who would govern?  There are no easy answers.

As of right now, North Korea represents no bigger threat than the 2003 Iraq. The United States should avoid getting involved into another unnecessary armed conflict, even if it means keeping Kim Jong-Un in power. While the threat from North Korea seems untenable, the threat is still not close to where it needs to be for preparations for an invasion, or even a war, to begin.

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Is Kim more dangerous than Saddam was? (Pic: Fox News) 

 

 

Dear George W. Bush, It’s America. We miss you. (7/26/17)

The turmoil of the current White House administration has Democrats so fed up with Donald Trump that they are even beginning to miss George W. Bush in office.

Yes, you read that correctly.

George W. Bush.

The man, who for the latter half of his second term, could have cured cancer and still had an approval rating of 18% among Democrats.

At the end of Bush’s presidency, most Democrats were calling him the worst president of the modern era, a pretty stinging insult, considering the modern era consists of presidents like Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter.

So, just what is it about “Dubbyah” that Democrats are starting to miss?

First of all, while detractors doubted Bush’s ability to handle political affairs, there was never any doubt over his morals, integrity, and fitness for office. He was an American patriot who took the job seriously, but never took himself too seriously.  He was constantly able to laugh at himself for his famous “Bushisms.” Bush even admitted the “brilliance” of some of his impersonators, such as Steve Bridges and Will Ferrell, and even brought up the former’s impersonation of him at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Bush never focused on the heated criticism, and remained undistracted and committed to the job of presidency.

This is in stark contrast to Donald Trump, who has infamously blasted Alec Baldwin for his impersonation of him on Saturday Night Live. Trump is also quite famous for the “war” he is waging against his “critics”, constantly denouncing news media outlets CNN, NBC and MSNBC for “fake news” and “unfair criticism”. To Democrats, Trump’s thin skin and constant overreaction to any criticism, real or perceived, makes him look unhinged.

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George Bush (left) and Steve Bridges (right) at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2006. (Pic: New York Times)

Bush also never really caused any major political scandals throughout his presidency (there were minor things, but most weren’t linked directly to him). Unlike the present, the White House under Bush was never in a state of perpetual crisis.  The Trump administration is currently dealing with a major scandal, the Russian-collusion allegations, and he is only six months into his presidency. Other smaller scandals, such as Trump’s failure to produce his tax returns and his failure to fully divest his business interests, also loom large in the Trump administration.

But above all, what Democrats may miss the most is the respect George W. Bush had for the office of the presidency.

Despite being a Republican, Bush was willing to work across party lines to achieve things that he believed were in the best interest of the American people . He never criticized former presidents, and he certainly didn’t bash any Democratic politicians.

As Bush stated in a famous interview with then Fox News host Bill O’ Reilly, “the office of the president is much more important than the occupant.” In other words, Bush refrained from bashing or name-calling his political opponents because he felt that it would diminish the highest office of the land.

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 I get the feeling we won’t see Trump and Obama doing this anytime soon… (Pic: Yahoo News)

This is much different than the “Trump rhetoric” and Trumpism, which involve personally defending the office’s beholder, Trump, rather than the office itself.

Trump has constantly criticized politicians, both Republican and Democrat.  His constant attack on his predecessor, Barack Obama, is unprecedented.  He has disparaged John McCain, Ted Cruz and other Republicans who have disagreed with him.  In the past 48 hours, Trump has railed against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who happened to be one of Trump’s earliest and most loyal supporters.  His personal attacks towards media figures, particularly women, have appalled almost everyone. Finally, his behaviour and attitude towards foreign leaders has hurt America’s status and reputation globally.

While Bush certainly wasn’t a favorite among Democrats, liberals, after witnessing all of the scandals and upheavals in the Trump administration, are starting to miss him.

And the funny thing is, it’s only been six months.  Six months.  Who knows?  After one year, Democrats might even start missing Richard Nixon.