Area = Pi x Radius x Radius

Area = 3.14159 x R². The area of a circle is equal to pi times the radius of the circle squared. Bomb blasts are usually circular in nature unless modified by walls or other protective devices. If the West bombs ISIS in the Middle East, each bomb blast will kill and/or maim everyone within the blast radius. However, just outside the blast radius there are likely to be as many or more people than within the killing zone. Thus every bomb that the West drops on ISIS will kill some terrorists and some innocents and recruit some additional terrorists. The question becomes how long can we and they keep it up? We can deliver larger bombs than they can, but they are demonstrating that nowhere is safe.

Breckinridge Long

Breckinridge Long, 1881 to 1958, was a lawyer and diplomat who served in the US State Department from 1933 to late 1944. He was influential in enforcing immigration laws restricting Jews from Europe from emigrating to the US. Fearing that a large influx of immigrants would harbor spies from Germany and the Soviet Union, he urged caution in the admittance of refugees fleeing Hitler’s extermination program. Due largely to his efforts, about 190,000 immigrants were denied admittance to the US at a time when the law permitted their immigration. This during a time of war. Now in 2015, voices are being raised in the US against the admittance of Syrian refugees in a time of peace. How many of those refugees will suffer or die because the US has again closed its doors?

“Ultimately, the effect of the immigration policies set by Long’s department was that, during American involvement in the war, ninety percent of the quota places available to immigrants from countries under German and Italian control were never filled. If they had been, an additional 190,000 people could have escaped the atrocities being committed by the Nazis.” from Wikipedia.

Empire or democracy

Benjamin Harrison was the Republican President between the two terms of Grover Cleveland, Democrat. Harrison was urged to run again in 1896 and probably could have been elected again, duplicating the two terms of Cleveland, separated by four years. Instead, Harrison declined to run, opening the door for the election of William McKinley. McKinley was President before, during and after the Spanish-American war. It was McKinley who decided to keep some of the freed Spanish territories to groom them for statehood, rather than grant the liberated territories immediate freedom. Thus was born the American Empire. Harrison was opposed, but it was McKinley’s decision to make. Today we live with the decisions of both Harrison and McKinley.

What are the consequences of empire? Endless wars. The profits of war benefit the 1% while the 99% bear the costs and suffer the consequences as do the peoples who inhabit the territories comprising the empire. Before WW2, Great Britain possessed an empire on which the sun never set. After WW2, Great Britain divested itself of empire because of its cost and because the endless wars threatened their democracy. Today, endless wars threaten democracy here in the US. I believe that we should follow Britain’s example and divest ourselves of empire. We can then reduce our defense budget and provide a better life for our citizens and other peoples of the world.

South China Sea

The area is in the news now because the US sent a destroyer close to a small reef claimed by China and China protested the intrusion. To fully understand the situation, please consult a globe, such as Google Earth. Bordered by the Philippines and Vietnam, the South China sea is dotted with small islands and reefs claimed by various nations that border the Sea. Depending on the size of the island or reef, territorial waters around them overlap and/or obstruct free passage by the shipping of the world’s maritime fleets. Besides the claims of the countries in the area, the South China Sea is the site of a confrontation between the US and China. The US wants free navigation in the area so that we have access to a shortcut between the Pacific and the Indian Oceans via the Strait of Malacca. The shortcut represents a significant time and cost savings for shipping.

Then look at it from the Chinese perspective. China is a mostly landlocked nation that depends on the sea for vital imports and an inexpensive method for exports. China’s exit to the sea is largely blocked by a chain of islands between Taiwan and Japan, leaving the South China Sea as the main route for China’s manufacturing and export industries along China’s southern coast. China worries that a blockade of its coast in a future conflict could interrupt vital supply lines. Before deciding that the US is right and China is wrong, please try to see the area from the Chinese perspective. I believe that a peaceful solution can be found, but the situation is complex and neither the US nor China trusts the other side.

Please see The South China Sea