Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From Fidel to Raul: No Change will Occur

By Jacinda Chan
UC Berkeley

Raul Castro has officially taken office as the new leader of Cuba. Some media experts expect a change, economically, but they are wrong. No change will occur. They say Raul intends to implement a Chinese economic model of state-led capitalism like Deng Xiaoping, but Raul is missing two of the three necessary requirements needed for a growing economy.

For starters, for Cuba’s economy to really develop, Raul Castro will need to allow more privatization. Right now a barber earns as much as a street vendor and people working for foreign company’s must pay huge amounts of taxes to redistribute the money evenly. The way China’s economy started growing was by allowing economic disparities. Deng Xiaoping believed that people worked best when they were able to keep their earnings. Raul’s Cuba does not allow the people to thrive the way Deng Xaioping believes is needed for a growing economy, and wanting to continue rule with an iron fist will not allow privatization.

More importantly, reporters have stated that Raul will open Cuba up to foreign investment, but for this is to work, Raul will have to be selective about which imports he allows to choose one’s that will not outdo local businesses.

Currently, a main importer, the U.S., has an embargo on Cuba, and in a recent debate, Clinton has refused to negotiate with Raul until he has implemented reforms, and Obama would meet with Raul only to discuss human rights issues. Because Raul does not intend to change much, he can expect little help from the U.S. if a democrat is elected.

Even if the U.S. decides to lift the embargo, they would probably not let him choose the imports or buy out U.S. businesses once they are established, another criteria for successful foreign investments according to Deng Xiaoping. The U.S. does not trust Cuba. So giving Cuba choices and the option to buy out business would give them more power, scaring the U.S.

Unless Raul Castro’s plans to improve Cuba’s human rights record and the economy involve drastic privatization, and the U.S. changes its stance on how to treat Cuba, Cubans can expect to be stuck in a drudge forever. Not only will this embargo severely limit economic growth, but who know where Raul will go for foreign investment, possibly aligning himself with even more oppressive governments, and the U.S. will have no say because Cuba will not be dependent on it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reconsider Obama’s Iraq Strategy

-By Jacinda Chan
UC Berkeley

Does Obama really know what he is doing when it comes to Iraq? He wants to just pull out of Iraq and talk to Middle Eastern leaders, but do you really think that will work? Of course, pulling out in such a way will benefit American troops, but what about the Iraqi people who we pulled into this mess and have to live with the consequences? Let’s take a quick survey of two world examples of what happened when countries decide to pull quickly out of another’s mess, only this was our mess.

Let’s look at when Britain decided to leave India and Pakistan hastily. Obama wants to talk to the leaders of the Middle East just like Mountbatten tried to talk to Nehru, Jinnah, and Gandhi but to no avail. The British decided to leave anyways without a resolution, and India and Pakistan continue to have crisis to this day. As result of these crisis, India and Pakistan have a constant threat of nuclear war. I don’t think you want Iraq to pose such a threat.

The second example is Rwanda. As soon as all the U.N. troops left the camps they were guarding, the Tutsi had no more protection, which allowed the Hutu to sweep in and commit mass GENOCIDE. Same as now, the world just thought it was civil war. However, if we withdraw the way Obama wants to, we could witness more nuclear threats, or even worse,

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Obama,Flaws and All-Why I Support Obama

By Dr.Clive Leeman

I've been supporting Barack Obama since his announcement of candidacy a
year ago on the steps of the Springfield Capitol before 30,000 people
standing in freezing rain. I realized then that he is the kind of gifted leader
who only comes along perhaps once in every 50 years.

He has a superb creative intelligence and gift for empathy. Each one
of his major speeches is different from his other speeches--always original,
graceful, and philosophically challenging, rather like Martin Luther King's.

The best piece on Obama I've read is "Barack Obama's unlikely political
education. The Agitator." by Ryan Lizza, The New Republic, Issue date:

It explores his years as a community organizer in Chicago's South Side,
a job he took instead of one of the $500,000 corporate positions offered top
Harvard Law School graduates.

I came away from reading that article in a state of awe about the man.
It concentrates on his years as a community organizer when he excelled at
inspiring demoralized communities and became the best local grassroots organizer
in living memory. During his successful run for the state senate, he
demonstrated that he had a spine of steel and unerring political instincts.

The South Carolina primary has shown that, in a groundswell, more and
more Americans are recognizing his presidential capacities, even his
authority. I hope and pray he stays safe for our sake and the sake of history.

During the campaign, Obama, a strong supporter of Israel, has spoken
sympathetically about the Palestinians, running the risk of antagonizing the
pro-Israeli lobby.

He has even more directly defied another powerful lobby (anti-Castro
Cubans)to say he will meet with Castro once he's President.

Obama is the only one of the candidates except Kucinich to have spoken
out against the war before the occupation of Iraq. I support him partly
because of my own antiwar principles.

Some of hls more recent statements on the Iraq war and on the Middle
East in general, however, have disappointed me and his health insurance plan
is not as strong as I would like it to be (single payer). And, although he
has refused to take money from corporate lobbyists, raising millions of
dollars from ordinary people online, he does not seem to recognize the criminal
nature of U.S.corporate foreign policy (see John Perkins's Confesssions of an
Economic Hit Man).

But my policy disagreements with Obama have not prevented me from
understanding that he has become an extraordinary presence on the
political landscape, aforce for good; that he has come to us in the
midst of MLK's "fierce urgency
of now"; that his transformative gifts are just what we desperately need after
the dreadful desolation of the Bush years; that, in journalist Laura Flander's
words, he has the capacity to be a "charismatic optimist" as president,just
like FDR, who began as a moderate but, through his sympathetic connection with
the people, was able to carry out the most radically significant legislation
in U.S. history.

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