Jump to content
Islamic Forum
Sign in to follow this  
wiseguy

Obama The New Terrorist In The White House

Recommended Posts

Actually, I must have missed the news that said that N Korea has nuclear weapons. When did they test one?

 

I agree that the invasion of Iraq was stupid, illegal and incredibly damaging for the US. I would assume that the Iranian government isn't a stupid as it sometimes seems to be, and that it realizes that israel will no permit it to have nuclear weapons. And the rest of the world would cheer israel.

 

North Korea tested a bomb in early October 2006. The explosion was smaller than the Hiroshima bomb, but seismologists concluded that a nuclear blast occurred. North Korean officials also confirmed that it successfully detonated one. It was pretty big news during the first week or two of October.

 

Well, maybe, but if the US withdrew support for israel (and Russia and China didn't step in to fill the hole, as they almost certainly would) there would be a blood bath and probably nukes on Damascus and Teheran, and perhaps Mecca. It might be in the US's economic interests to allow this but it certainly wouldn't help "development in the area".

 

Well, if there were a financial collapse in the U.S., we wouldn't be able to support israel, anyway. Development is an arduous process that can take decades or centuries. The U.S. took decades to get to become an economic superpower (and that was with abundant resource advantages); I wouldn't expect the Middle East to become overly prosperous any time soon, but constantly threatening people with assassinations and coups slows down an already slow process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PropellerAds
North Korea tested a bomb in early October 2006. The explosion was smaller than the Hiroshima bomb, but seismologists concluded that a nuclear blast occurred. North Korean officials also confirmed that it successfully detonated one. It was pretty big news during the first week or two of October.

 

Thanks, I do have a vague memory of that. But I'll have to check - a large explosion isn't necessarily a nuclear explosion. Remember the 'Mother of all bombs' (obscene name, IMHO) that the US tested before the Iraq invasion? It was non-nuclear but gigantic.

 

Well, if there were a financial collapse in the U.S., we wouldn't be able to support israel, anyway. Development is an arduous process that can take decades or centuries. The U.S. took decades to get to become an economic superpower (and that was with abundant resource advantages); I wouldn't expect the Middle East to become overly prosperous any time soon, but constantly threatening people with assassinations and coups slows down an already slow process.

 

Well, the ME could be pretty prosperous right now if it spent its oil revenues sensibly. israel is pretty prosperous now. And almost all of the the major ME players who have been assasinated have been assassinated by Muslims and Jews. The Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Kuwait were home-grown conflicts. There is zero chance that a simple withdrawal by the US would lead to anything but bloody chaos. If you think that the ME would be any better off with China as the interested super-power rather than the US, talk to a Chinese Muslim and an American Muslim.

 

I agree that colonialsim and other interventions have been partly to blame for the ME's problems but the question is what to do now. If you must look to history, you need to explain how Malaysia, Vietnam, India, and so many other post-colonial countries are doing so well. There are other factors at play than simplly problems caused by colonialism.

Edited by melliodora

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree that colonialsim and other interventions have been partly to blame for the ME's problems but the question is what to do now. If you must look to history, you need to explain how Malaysia, Vietnam, India, and so many other post-colonial countries are doing so well. There are other factors at play than simplly problems caused by colonialism.

 

Well, I do agree that there are other factors involved, possibly moreso than colonialism. It's a very complex state of affairs in the Middle East; I doubt anyone has any real solution. Western influence in Iran (although I guess that's actually Persia, not the Middle East) had been growing for the past decade or so; the youth were more willing to seek a more "liberal" society, if you want to call it that. Bush hindered the movement towards such a society when he pretty much called it evil. Nations tend to unite when they feel threatened from an outside force. It's nice that Obama is trying to mend ties with Iran, but Iran still sees the U.S. as a threat, and probably will for some time.

 

Every action seems to have a whole host of unintended consequences and chain reactions that you really don't know what to do. Things somehow manage to work themselves out. Europe used to be a continent of savages that slaughtered each other, but through a long, arduous process Europeans eventually learned of ideas like liberty and free markets and managed to become the leading economic powers in the world. Granted, that took hundreds of years of effort as well as pillaging and plundering other civilizations to get there, but they got there. I'm not saying that Europe is a paragon of virtue, but it's an example of how even the most savage of people can become prosperous, and even pacifistic.

 

I've read some stories of sheikhs using large portions of their oil revenues to research solar power. Much of this money is flowing into U.S. research laboratories that get next to no government or corporate funding. This has allowed solar researchers to accelerate their study of photovoltaics. Some with oil wealth realize that oil will not last forever, so they figure that solar power will be an excellent investment. After all, one of the benefits of being in a desert is lots of sunny days, and lots of sand to make solar panels. If research proves fruitful, the Middle East could become the place for solar panel technology. Just as the Dutch are masters of building dikes and water level control, the Arabs could become the masters of solar technology.

 

Desalination is another great technology that could be mastered in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia currently obtains about 80-90% of its water from desalination plants. Essentially, they are getting their water from the sea, and getting salt as a byproduct. Again, the desert drives the development and mastery of desalination technology, which could be exported to coastal nations around the world in need of large supplies of freshwater. California could sure benefit from desalination plants, as I hear they're having water shortages.

 

These two technologies could be a start towards Middle Eastern prosperity beyond oil revenues. Of course, the governments and people need to make the choice whether or not to walk down this path.

 

Note: Maybe I should start a thread on this subject, this is rather exciting to me, haha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I do agree that there are other factors involved, possibly moreso than colonialism. It's a very complex state of affairs in the Middle East; I doubt anyone has any real solution. Western influence in Iran (although I guess that's actually Persia, not the Middle East) had been growing for the past decade or so; the youth were more willing to seek a more "liberal" society, if you want to call it that. Bush hindered the movement towards such a society when he pretty much called it evil. Nations tend to unite when they feel threatened from an outside force. It's nice that Obama is trying to mend ties with Iran, but Iran still sees the U.S. as a threat, and probably will for some time.

 

True. The trouble is that Iran also sees Isreal as a threat and Sunni nations as a threat and so on.

 

Every action seems to have a whole host of unintended consequences and chain reactions that you really don't know what to do. Things somehow manage to work themselves out. Europe used to be a continent of savages that slaughtered each other, but through a long, arduous process Europeans eventually learned of ideas like liberty and free markets and managed to become the leading economic powers in the world. Granted, that took hundreds of years of effort as well as pillaging and plundering other civilizations to get there, but they got there. I'm not saying that Europe is a paragon of virtue, but it's an example of how even the most savage of people can become prosperous, and even pacifistic.

 

I'm not sure I go along with your implied rejection of "savages", and I'm a bit bemused that your ideal for the world seems to be a petty-bourgeois consumer society. You seem to be saying that there cannot be peace in the ME until everyone has a wage and a Walmart to spend it at. I don't think that's a realistic goal, nor a desirable one. It surely isn't an Islamic one?

 

I've read some stories of sheikhs using large portions of their oil revenues to research solar power. Much of this money is flowing into U.S. research laboratories that get next to no government or corporate funding. This has allowed solar researchers to accelerate their study of photovoltaics. Some with oil wealth realize that oil will not last forever, so they figure that solar power will be an excellent investment. After all, one of the benefits of being in a desert is lots of sunny days, and lots of sand to make solar panels. If research proves fruitful, the Middle East could become the place for solar panel technology. Just as the Dutch are masters of building dikes and water level control, the Arabs could become the masters of solar technology.

 

Well, they might, but I haven't seen any Arab-owned patents on any of my solar equipment. It all comes from BP and China. It would be a good idea if they were doing it, but why on earth aren't they building universities in the ME with the same lavish attention that they are spend on hotels? This is a serious question - if the US in in fact the enemy, and if the demise of the US is supposed to help Muslims, they are in fact setting up a situation where the demise of the US will harm Arabs because all the research and development is taking place in the US, not the ME.

 

 

Desalination is another great technology that could be mastered in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia currently obtains about 80-90% of its water from desalination plants. Essentially, they are getting their water from the sea, and getting salt as a byproduct. Again, the desert drives the development and mastery of desalination technology, which could be exported to coastal nations around the world in need of large supplies of freshwater. California could sure benefit from desalination plants, as I hear they're having water shortages.

 

I agree that it could, but is it? We (Australia) are currently building some desal plants and AFAIK none of the experts or technology comes from the ME. Most of it comes from our own universities. Do the Saudi desal plants come from Saudi? I doubt it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
True. The trouble is that Iran also sees Isreal as a threat and Sunni nations as a threat and so on.

I'm not sure I go along with your implied rejection of "savages", and I'm a bit bemused that your ideal for the world seems to be a petty-bourgeois consumer society. You seem to be saying that there cannot be peace in the ME until everyone has a wage and a Walmart to spend it at. I don't think that's a realistic goal, nor a desirable one. It surely isn't an Islamic one?

 

I tend to go off on a tangent a lot (haha). I guess the entire point of what I said was that people can change from one extreme to another. A society could change from violent to pacifist, so any degrees in between should be attainable as well. Actually, I despise consumerism as I think it dehumanizes thinking people to mindless resource-users. The main thing I'm concerned with is an end to widespread violence (not that you could realistically end all violence). An Islamic ideal would most likely be different from a consumerist society, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

 

Well, they might, but I haven't seen any Arab-owned patents on any of my solar equipment. It all comes from BP and China. It would be a good idea if they were doing it, but why on earth aren't they building universities in the ME with the same lavish attention that they are spend on hotels? This is a serious question - if the US in in fact the enemy, and if the demise of the US is supposed to help Muslims, they are in fact setting up a situation where the demise of the US will harm Arabs because all the research and development is taking place in the US, not the ME.

 

China is a nice example of how a region can turnaround. China used to be a relatively minor player in global affairs and scientific research, but recently it has been able to build up its knowledge base up to the level of Western institutions. Tourism is still the biggest industry in the world, so it seems like a good idea to lure tourists to the Middle East in order to generate more revenue. There are increasing numbers of Middle Eastern students attending Western universities (mainly in science and engineering at my university, like the Chinese and Indian students), and some do return to the Middle East in order to apply their knowledge. The West has had the most background in these technologies, so it's obviously going to have a head start on the Middle East. But just like China, the Middle East can turnaround its situation, as soon as priorities are focused on those technologies and others.

 

 

I agree that it could, but is it? We (Australia) are currently building some desal plants and AFAIK none of the experts or technology comes from the ME. Most of it comes from our own universities. Do the Saudi desal plants come from Saudi? I doubt it.

 

Australia is also a first-world country with universities that have been well-rooted in science and engineering for decades, so of course you'll have a head start. I didn't say that the Middle East is the current leader in desalination technology, but has the potential to be. You can think of this as similar to Japan's electronics technologies. Much of the electronics technology was invented in the U.S. and other Western countries, and at the beginning, Japan was nowhere near a leader in electronics. But through focused determination, Japanese electronics were able to compete and even surpass American electronics. Desalination and solar power are still relatively young technologies, but the Middle East could be like Japan in this context. Time is needed before such changes can occur, of course.

 

Of course, other arid regions, like Western Australia, could also become a leader in these technologies as well. The more people that research this, the better. After all, a little friendly competition helps spur progress even further. When the technologies become more mature, those who use it the most tend to know more about these systems and inherent flaws in the designs. So the heaviest users would most likely come up with the most efficient and innovative designs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
An Islamic ideal would most likely be different from a consumerist society, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

 

I agree, but so is a Christian ideal, a Hindu ideal, a pagan ideal and so on.

 

China is a nice example of how a region can turnaround. China used to be a relatively minor player in global affairs and scientific research, but recently it has been able to build up its knowledge base up to the level of Western institutions.

 

I agree (although of course China was a sophisticated, educated nation a thousand years before Europe had its first university). However the first step is to actually build universities and invest in technology. That requires either a vigorous capitalist system or state support. Just because many people from the ME get qualified at foreign universities and start companies on foreign countries doesn't really help the ME. At best it's a more lucrative version of repatriated wages.

 

The West has had the most background in these technologies, so it's obviously going to have a head start on the Middle East. But just like China, the Middle East can turnaround its situation, as soon as priorities are focused on those technologies and others.

 

I agree, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

 

didn't say that the Middle East is the current leader in desalination technology, but has the potential to be.

 

I agree, but why insist on desal? Why not medicine, space travel, banking, nano-technology or whatever? Why place arbitrary restictions on what is 'appropriat'e for the ME?

 

Of course, other arid regions, like Western Australia, could also become a leader in these technologies as well. The more people that research this, the better. After all, a little friendly competition helps spur progress even further. When the technologies become more mature, those who use it the most tend to know more about these systems and inherent flaws in the designs. So the heaviest users would most likely come up with the most efficient and innovative designs.

 

I think you're stuck in a rut of thinking that a country should stick to investments that relate to the country. Japan is a great example. It's a tiny, crowded country with good public transport, and yet it is one of the world leaders in manufacturing cars. It has a huge market in the US, a large, uncrowded country with poor public transport - just the place where cars are needed.

 

It would be nice if Australia became the world leader in solar technology because we are one of the best-placed countries to make use of the technology, but the economy would be equally healthy if we were exporting solar panels as it would be if we were exporting electron microscopes. it's the money we earn that matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree, but so is a Christian ideal, a Hindu ideal, a pagan ideal and so on.

 

Well, since this is an Islamic forum, I would think that other faiths would be glossed over during the reading, but you're right.

 

I agree (although of course China was a sophisticated, educated nation a thousand years before Europe had its first university). However the first step is to actually build universities and invest in technology. That requires either a vigorous capitalist system or state support. Just because many people from the ME get qualified at foreign universities and start companies on foreign countries doesn't really help the ME. At best it's a more lucrative version of repatriated wages.

 

One such "company" that could be founded is a university. There are some new research parks and schools opening up in the wealthier parts of the Middle East. Wealthy Arabs are also beginning to invest heavily in U.S. and European research into solar power. Without that influx of capital, many of these research programs would be at a near standstill.

 

I agree, but it doesn't seem to be happening.

 

Everything takes time. They've only just started to get involved in these areas.

 

I agree, but why insist on desal? Why not medicine, space travel, banking, nano-technology or whatever? Why place arbitrary restictions on what is 'appropriat'e for the ME?

 

There are no restrictions. The Middle East could also use the oil wealth to import raw materials to make heavy winter clothes, bandages, and microchips. There's certainly plenty of sand nobody's using that could be turned into microchips or glassware. If you have plentiful resources, why not use them? You could test the extremes of desalination technology in an arid region more easily than in a temperate climate. Testing is extremely important in product design.

 

Designs tend to be somewhat better if you actually care about the thing you're designing, as well. I'd trust fire equipment designed and tested by a professional firefighter than I would from a stockbroker.

 

By the way, the Saudis already do a great job of keeping U.S. banks afloat, just like the Japanese and Chinese. So I think they have the banking "technology" all figured out.

 

I think you're stuck in a rut of thinking that a country should stick to investments that relate to the country. Japan is a great example. It's a tiny, crowded country with good public transport, and yet it is one of the world leaders in manufacturing cars. It has a huge market in the US, a large, uncrowded country with poor public transport - just the place where cars are needed.

 

The U.S. used to be the leader in automobile manufacturing, but Japan just "wanted" it more than the United States. Japan still insists on keeping its manufacturing plants intact, streamlining them and constantly finding ways to replace human workers with robots. Few natural resources gives Japan little incentive to shut down its factories, as those factories are the lifeblood of the economy. They also like to drive most of the cars they make. The United States, however, has a decent amount of natural resources available, especially fertile farmland. The U.S. also isn't engaged in a Cold War with the Soviet Union anymore, which spurred the development of new technologies and industries. Financial gain wasn't the incentive for the space program, from which solar power was essentially born, but it was rather desperation to beat the Soviets in space. Since the Cold War ended, people here have gotten lazy, and expect everything to be handed to them. With that attitude comes a decaying superpower.

 

It would be nice if Australia became the world leader in solar technology because we are one of the best-placed countries to make use of the technology, but the economy would be equally healthy if we were exporting solar panels as it would be if we were exporting electron microscopes. it's the money we earn that matters.

 

Do both. I'm sure Australia could use its industrial capacity to produce said microscopes for materials science and engineering research and also use them in its universities.

 

If you have a giant desert that nobody's really using, why not exploit that resource? The more you exploit it, the better you get at doing it, creating a positive feedback loop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One such "company" that could be founded is a university. There are some new research parks and schools opening up in the wealthier parts of the Middle East.

 

That's good news, although my point was that the companies that Arab-Americans mostly create or invest in are American companies.

 

Wealthy Arabs are also beginning to invest heavily in U.S. and European research into solar power. Without that influx of capital, many of these research programs would be at a near standstill.

 

I agree that this is a good thing, but it isn't doing anything to help the ME gain technological expertise. The technology will remain American/European owned. At best the wealthy Arabs will become even wealthier, which - on current form - means that they will invest more in American/European companies.

 

There are no restrictions. The Middle East could also use the oil wealth to import raw materials to make heavy winter clothes, bandages, and microchips. There's certainly plenty of sand nobody's using that could be turned into microchips or glassware. If you have plentiful resources, why not use them? You could test the extremes of desalination technology in an arid region more easily than in a temperate climate. Testing is extremely important in product design.

 

Actually, I've finally gone and looked at some facts about this. Most of Dubai's water comes from desal. Saudi produces even more desal water. The UAE is the world's third-largest consumer (per capita) of fresh water, much of it from desal. So desal isn't exactly a frontier technology. The biggest players seem to be Degremont and Suez Environmental, huge French companies. The ME seems to have missed the boat on developing ground-breaking desal technology.

 

Designs tend to be somewhat better if you actually care about the thing you're designing, as well. I'd trust fire equipment designed and tested by a professional firefighter than I would from a stockbroker.

 

False analogy. I'd trust fire equipment designed and tested by people who knew the latest worldwide research and engineering. Most of the firemen I know would have trouble reading a scientific paper, much less writing one.

 

By the way, the Saudis already do a great job of keeping U.S. banks afloat, just like the Japanese and Chinese. So I think they have the banking "technology" all figured out.

 

I'm not saying that Arabs are dumb (of course!), I'm saying that the ME does not seem to be doing enough to ensure survival post-oil.

 

If you have a giant desert that nobody's really using, why not exploit that resource? The more you exploit it, the better you get at doing it, creating a positive feedback loop.

 

Of course. So why isn't the ME exploiting it? Why is almost all ME technology imported? India and Korea are great examples of countries starting from a much worse position than the ME who have achieved extraordinary things in just 50 years. The problem seems to be a cultural one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One such "company" that could be founded is a university. There are some new research parks and schools opening up in the wealthier parts of the Middle East.

 

That's good news, although my point was that the companies that Arab-Americans mostly create or invest in are American companies.

 

Wealthy Arabs are also beginning to invest heavily in U.S. and European research into solar power. Without that influx of capital, many of these research programs would be at a near standstill.

 

I agree that this is a good thing, but it isn't doing anything to help the ME gain technological expertise. The technology will remain American/European owned. At best the wealthy Arabs will become even wealthier, which - on current form - means that they will invest more in American/European companies.

 

There are no restrictions. The Middle East could also use the oil wealth to import raw materials to make heavy winter clothes, bandages, and microchips. There's certainly plenty of sand nobody's using that could be turned into microchips or glassware. If you have plentiful resources, why not use them? You could test the extremes of desalination technology in an arid region more easily than in a temperate climate. Testing is extremely important in product design.

 

Actually, I've finally gone and looked at some facts about this. Most of Dubai's water comes from desal. Saudi produces even more desal water. The UAE is the world's third-largest consumer (per capita) of fresh water, much of it from desal. So desal isn't exactly a frontier technology. The biggest players seem to be Degremont and Suez Environmental, huge French companies. The ME seems to have missed the boat on developing ground-breaking desal technology.

 

Designs tend to be somewhat better if you actually care about the thing you're designing, as well. I'd trust fire equipment designed and tested by a professional firefighter than I would from a stockbroker.

 

False analogy. I'd trust fire equipment designed and tested by people who knew the latest worldwide research and engineering. Most of the firemen I know would have trouble reading a scientific paper, much less writing one.

 

By the way, the Saudis already do a great job of keeping U.S. banks afloat, just like the Japanese and Chinese. So I think they have the banking "technology" all figured out.

 

I'm not saying that Arabs are dumb (of course!), I'm saying that the ME does not seem to be doing enough to ensure survival post-oil.

 

If you have a giant desert that nobody's really using, why not exploit that resource? The more you exploit it, the better you get at doing it, creating a positive feedback loop.

 

Of course. So why isn't the ME exploiting it? Why is almost all ME technology imported? India and Korea are great examples of countries starting from a much worse position than the ME who have achieved extraordinary things in just 50 years. The problem seems to be a cultural one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems like you accidentally made a double-post.

 

When it all comes down to it, the Middle East has to really WANT to achieve something beyond oil. My little thoughts were just little thoughts on what they could be doing. I'm not saying that they are hardcore into the cutting edge of desalination or solar power. I'm merely thinking about potential. Whether or not the area invests in these technologies is entirely up to them. If you want something bad enough, you're more likely than not to try your absolute hardest to get it.

 

We don't fundamentally disagree on anything. I'm merely thinking aloud of the possibilities. Personally, I'd like to see the United States become the premier technological powerhouse that everyone would buy from. But to achieve that result, we'd need to have major cultural changes. I'm also sure that the Middle East would likewise need a few cultural changes if it were to pursue the industrial route.

 

For a long journey, you cannot simply leap to your destination: you must first decide to make the journey, and then take the first steps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×