Sunday, March 24, 2013

National Defense and Global Security

I enjoyed Professor Olson's engaging lecture on National Defense and Global Security. It was interesting to see how people voted about various scenarios that lurk in the shadows of national defense. Making decisions that involve people's lives is a grave challenge that will weigh upon anyone's heart. Believing in your decision for the sake of protecting one's fellow citizens is something none of us have ever faced. Professor Olson has made those calls and I have immense respect for his service as well as the many others to whom we can't place a face or a name. However, on many issues of national defense I would most likely disagree with Professor Olson's opinion and that of the majority. My disagreement stems from many convictions some personal, some spiritual and some economical.

From one perspective, I view the issue of national defense through a lens of economical pragmatism that I is similar to the President Clinton's era. War and national defense are expensive. How expensive? It's not easy to nail down the exact figure but from various sources** the 2012 budget for national defense can be estimated  between 800 million - 1 TRILLION dollars without adding in the budget for "covert black-budget operations". 

1 TRILLION dollars.

Now I want you to think about this. You are married with two kids. Your family earns the median US household income of $50,000 usd. Your family is burdened with choice. You can either contribute $12,000 dollars per year to pay for the national defense budget or contribute that money to free university education for every child in the country.

War costs people. The average citizen must contribute $3,000 plus interest on the money borrowed to support the national defense budget. However, most young adults are graduating college with historic debt because they can't afford the phenomenal costs of college. How many people do you know have borrowed money to further their education? There are siginifcant opportunity costs to think about when one talks about National Security. While this issue of War and Defense is an impassioned argument, I ask you to not lose your logic in the heat of the moment. Please leave comment in the bottom.


I don't believe it is right for Americans to go outside our borders and fight an extrajudicial war. It is true Al-Qaeda on the tragic day of 9/11 killed innocent Americans. That act cannot be forgiven. But how can we justify the acts we commit as a country, when we invade other countries for the sake of revenge? When we commit drone strikes abroad and shrug off the collateral damage of killing innocent people, do we forget those acts reflect upon ALL of us. We live in a democracy and it up to us to participate. I can never spiritually condone the killing of an innocent person for the sake of revenge. That to me is playing God and that is not something with which I wish to wash my hands. It is easy to forget that terrorists are the minority and the only weapon they have is fear. I am not afraid. I will never be afraid. And I'm willing to defend my country right here at home. 


The Military Imbalance: How The U.S. Outspends The World

Our Insanely Big $1 Trillion National Security Budget

Military Budget of the U.S.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Strategic Issues Facing the Midddle East

Dr. Ayari and Dr. Ewers provided unique insight into the issues in the middle east. From Dr. Ayari we learned that corruption and ineffective governments can seriously impact a countries economic future as illustrated in the article about Tunisia. As a result, a growing segment of the youth population has no way to serve their own societies. Restless tensions eventually led to the Arab Spring uprising that pulsed throughout the region. However, since many countries in the middle east are blessed with vast oil abundance it affords them the wealth to maintain control as they provide the world's backbone for energy supply. From Dr. Ewers we learned how the wealthy middle eastern countries  ealize that change is the name of the game. He demonstrated how an economy reliant on a singular economic activity -oil- is a prone to dangerous swings in economic security which puts those at the head of government at risk. Therefore, these governments are rapidly deploying their economic cash reserves to create industries in their countries independent of oil.



Links to good reads?

post it in the comments

World Food Supply PT. II-


In addition to the World Food Security lecture, I wanted to include additional resources I've found helpful for understanding agriculture across the globe.

-short video by the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment illustrates the challenges the globe faces in food security

-Indian farmers are breaking records in rice yields without the help of conventional ag technologies

-how Belo Horizonte, Brazil came together as a city and a community to implement market reforms that allowed them to end hunger

-a 9 minute documentary filmed for the French Bon app├ętit exhibition is aimed at educating children about how to feed the world

-Over 130 countries consider insects an integral part of their diet. 

Silicon Valley tech company brings robotics to farming