How the Islamic State Became So Powerful

Islamic State Militants with a scud missile at a parade

Islamic State Militants with a scud missile at a parade

Lately the U.S. news networks have all been covering the Islamic State militant crisis in Iraq and Syria. The situation has progressed so quickly that the U.S. has “had to” authorize airstrikes in Iraq to halt the Islamic State advance. Each day we find out more information about this group and their horrific acts against humanity. U.S. Congressmen and women talk about the need for a greater military presence to stop this “cancer” from spreading any further into the already unstable region. President Obama has made remarks about increasing this airstrike campaign in Iraq in order to combat the terrorist organization. All the while everyone seems to have forgotten how this group got to be so influential and powerful in the first place.

Islamic State Militants with a Tank at a parade

Islamic State Militants with a Tank at a parade

How did a group of radical Islamic State militants get the necessary firepower to overrun two countries almost simultaneously? They got their weapons from the most powerful military in the world of course, the United States. Our U.S. military spent trillions of tax dollars on creating, training and arming Iraq’s military with the most modern military equipment. The plan was to leave Iraq’s own people in-charge of their military so that terrorist organizations (like the Islamic State) could not overrun their country again. However, shortly after leaving Iraq’s military in charge of security, the Islamic State militants began attacking their bases and acquiring all of their weapons. Iraq’s military abandoned their posts at the first sign of conflict and of course, left behind all of their brand new U.S. military equipment.

Islamic State Militants hauling away abandoned military equipment

Islamic State Militants hauling away abandoned military equipment

But why does the Islamic State even exist? Didn’t the U.S. destroy all of the terrorist networks in the Middle East over the past decade? No, obviously they didn’t. Here’s what they did do. The U.S. spent trillions of dollars and more than a decade occupying the Middle East only to find that it is the main source of funding for the very terrorists it has been fighting. Airstrikes, drones and other military assets that were used against the people of the Middle East for the sake of ending terrorism have only caused resentment and anger towards the U.S. The result of this campaign has been the creation of a monster. Islamic State militants are now terrorizing their country and undermining everything that the U.S. has done. It seems to me that occupying a foreign nation and battering it with military equipment is not the best solution to ending terrorism after all.

Now I hear that Obama is authorizing airstrikes in Iraq and possibly Syria in the future. I can’t help but wonder why. How is it that this country has not learned from its mistakes? The longer that we occupy the Middle East with our military, the stronger the resistance becomes. The more military equipment that we send to the Middle East, the more powerful the resistance becomes. After more than a decade of war I wonder if we are still fighting terrorists. Or is it possible that now we’re fighting people who are just sick and tired of our occupation of their country. People who have been so battered by our military that they will do anything necessary to get rid of us. The next time that we hear about the Islamic State being a “cancer” in the Middle East, maybe we should ask what caused that cancer in the first place.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Monday everyone.

Advertisements

China Brings Jobs to the U.S.?

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

Suntech Power Holdings factory in Phoenix, Arizona

 

Americans (myself included) can’t remember a time when we weren’t the most powerful nation in the world. Being the most powerful nation in the world is a title that comes with special responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is job creation. The U.S. has long been known for its ability to keep unemployment rates down and its salaries reasonable. However, over the past decade, the U.S. has been slipping on its job creation responsibilities. Unemployment has been on the rise, the middle class has been all but wiped out and the gap between the rich and the poor is at its greatest. In the most unlikely of twists, the country that’s now creating jobs in the U.S. is none other than China.

Last year an estimated 14 billion dollars were invested in the U.S. by Chinese companies, employing over 70,000 U.S. citizens. Who would have thought that China, of all countries, would be investing in the U.S. and creating jobs? After decades of U.S. companies moving their operations to China, Chinese investors are now looking to do the same here in the U.S. by promoting more Chinese American business investment. From the Southern states of Alabama and Mississippi to the Western state of Arizona, these states are offering cheap real-estate and a strong workforce. Suntech Power Holdings, a Chinese solar panel firm, is a prime example of Chinese investment in the U.S. as the factory is located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Chinese investors are purchasing struggling U.S. companies and also purchasing abandoned factories and converting them into profitable modern factories. With competitive wages and the necessary infrastructure to move large sums of products already in place, it’s likely that the U.S. will only see an increase in Chinese investment. While I’m not entirely comfortable with the thought of Chinese companies employing our citizens, I was less comfortable with the idea of sending U.S. jobs overseas to China. Hopefully this new era of Chinese investment in the U.S. will remind our own companies of how valuable U.S. employment can be.

I would love to hear from you guys about this new era of U.S. investment. Do you think that China’s investments in the U.S. is a good thing or a bad thing? Let me know what you think and thanks for stopping by!

China and its Neighbors

China and its Neighbors

Cyber-Crimes, China vs U.S.

FBI’s Most Wanted

chinese cyber spy #5 SUN KAILIANG

Sun Kailiang

Huang Zhenyu

Huang Zhenyu

Wen Xinyu

Wen Xinyu

Wang dong

Wang dong

Gu Chunhui

Gu Chunhui

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hacking. This may be the most misunderstood and complicated term that makes the news on a daily basis. Whenever I hear the word “hacker” I immediately imagine some petty thief sitting on his computer buying things online with my stolen credit card information. Surely I’m not the only person who has received a phone call from their bank asking them if they are aware of fraudulent charges on their account. I imagine that if this happened to you, that you were sent a new card in the mail a few days later and that the money was safely transferred back into your account later that day. But what happens when someone is able to hack more than just your money? What if they are able to hack into your life’s work and then use that information for their own benefit? Well, that actually wasn’t a question, it’s a fact. As of May 1st, 2014, five members of China’s military were indicted for corporate cyber-attacks.

This is the first time that individuals from a foreign government are being charged with cyber-crimes against major U.S. corporations. Sun Kailiang, Huang Zhenyu, Wen Xinyu, Wang Dong and Gu Chunhui are the five members from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Republic of China who were indicted for their cyber-crimes. The victims of their cyber-crimes include U.S. companies such as Westinghouse Electric Co, SolarWorld AG, United States Steal Corporation, Alcoa Inc., Allegheny Technologies Inc. and a workers union. The hackers not only stole valuable information about trade practices and procedures, but they also stole vital energy information. While conducting their cyber-attack, the criminals did everything from send false emails requesting secret information to downloading schematics for power-plant production. These expert hackers were able to gain access to nearly all aspects of these major U.S. companies.

After looking into the investigation, I discovered that each of these corporations were in some way involved in more than just business with China. As stated by the FBI, “… those companies were engaged in negotiations or joint ventures or were pursuing legal action with, or against, state-owned enterprises in China”. These hackers were able to access vital information about U.S. competitors and their negotiation strategies with these Chinese enterprises. Of course the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson denied any government or military responsibility for the crimes stating that, “The U.S. accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded and absurd”. This latest case of suspected cyber-attacks from China is the first to actually move forward with official criminal charges and is likely to strain the U.S.–Chinese relationship even further.

I would love to hear from someone living in China about these accusations. Though I’m fully aware of the U.S.’s capacity to lie about such accusations, I want to know what you think about this. Do you think that these charges were fabricated by the U.S. or do you believe that the crimes committed are legitimate? Does this case latest case of cyber-attacks strain the relationship between the U.S. and China as much as the news says it does? Whether from China or not, please leave me a post and let me know what your thoughts are on this case.

Sources

fbi.gov

latimes.com

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

World Map of China

World Map of China

China and its Neighbors

China and its Neighbors

Cannibal Warlord, General “Butt Naked”

Do you remember the last time that you ate a child’s heart so that you could be invincible in battle? Can’t recall ever doing so? Well take a look at this documentary that I found on youtube.com. The documentary was produced by Vice News, a news agency that does in depth reporting across the globe. In this documentary Shane Smith, Vice News co-founder and field correspondent, travels to the west African nation of Liberia to investigate the so called Cannibal Warlords that live there. Let me warn you that the documentary has some strong content.

After exploring several parts of Liberia, Shane Smith lands a shady interview with former General “Butt Naked.” The general, who gave himself the name “Butt Naked”, explains the origin of his name to Shane. He tells the reporter that he chose this name because of his combat strategy during Liberia’s civil war. A strategy in which he would instruct his rebel soldiers to strip down completely before battle. Once fully nude, he would have his soldiers bring an innocent child to him for ritualistic purposes. He would then cut the child’s heart out of his/her chest, while still alive, and have each of his soldiers consume a piece of it. General “Butt Naked” explained to his soldiers that this sacrifice would bring them magical powers in combat and make them invincible. Only then would the General and his soldiers go into battle, while still completely nude I should add. This ritual of sacrifice was repeated before every single battle, thus causing the needless slaughter of hundreds of innocent children during the war.

Today General “Butt Naked” spends his days preaching to his community. He converted to Christianity after the war and now preaches at churches around Liberia about his struggle with his violent past. Former victims of his cannibal rituals say that he converted to Christianity only to avoid punishment for his war crimes. So the former general’s life is now in constant danger of attack from people affected by his military past. According to him these are false accusations. He says that the reason he converted to Christianity was so that he could be a better person and more importantly a better father to his young daughter. Though he takes the full blame for his actions, he recognizes that if his parents would have raised him instead of abandon him, then he might be a different man today. That thought is what motivates him to be a better father and a better person with the help of Christianity.

I tried to put myself in his shoes and imagine what life must have been like for him in Liberia. I wonder what kind of trauma he experienced before deciding that killing children and eating their hearts was the right thing to do. Maybe he’s just a psychopath with no remorse, incapable of distinguishing right from wrong. However it seems odd to me that a person who is incapable of knowing right from wrong would choose to devote the rest of his life to Christianity seeking forgiveness for his sins. The question of whether or not this man should be executed for his crimes remains a mixed issue. Does punishing a person’s ignorance with death solve the issue of ignorance? Does not punishing this man solve the issue of ignorance? I’m not sure what the solution is, if there even is a solution, but what I do know is that this country and its people are completely foreign to me. I will pray for them and hope that change comes sooner than later…

I would love to hear from someone living in Liberia. If you are from there or have family that lives there, please reply to this blog post. I want to hear your story and know what it is like for you as a citizen of Liberia. I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Post Sources

cia.gov

youtube.com

Liberia in Africa Liberia with neighbors

Source (Picture 1)                                                                              Source (Picture 2)

 

 

15 Quick Facts about Liberia

Official Language: English (Though only 20% of the population exclusively speaks English)

President: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, since 2006 (She was reelected in 2011 with 90.7% of the total vote in her favor)

Religion: 85.6% Christian, 12.2% Muslim

Total Population: 4,092,310

Capital: Monrovia

Median Age of Population: 18 years old (U.S. median age: 37 years old)

Sanitation Facility Access: 18.2% of the total population (81.8% with no access to restrooms or sewage infrastructure)

Health Expenditures: 19.5% of GDP

Physician Density: 0.01 Physicians/1000 people (Whatever you do don’t get sick in Liberia)

Education Expenditures: 2.8% of GDP

Total GDP: $2.89 Billion U.S. Dollars (Mark Zuckerberg’s Net Worth: $26.6 Billion U.S. Dollars)

Average Annual Income (Per Person): $700.00 U.S. Dollars (Qatar’s average is the highest at: $102,100 U.S. Dollars)

Privately Owned T.V. Stations: 3

Total Internet Users: 20,000 people (That’s less than 1% of the entire population)

Transnational Issues: Human Trafficking, Drug Trafficking, Civil Unrest, Refugee Disputes with Neighboring Countries