Governance for the elite or for the people: can you tell the difference? The Governing for the People "Behind-the-News" Letter exposes the differences and guides you to "think outside the politically correct box" about future possibilities.    


Governance for the Elite...or the People

American culture is evolving in ways that pose increasingly dangerous and unnecessary constraints on the ability of American society to imagine effective solutions to the highly interconnected set of foreign policy, economic policy, environmental policy, and health policy problems it currently faces.

Politics in the U.S.—at the level of policy-making—has a degree of rigidity, narrow-mindedness, and short-sightedness that causes enormous harm to the security and quality of life of Americans. The artificial constraints that American voters and policy-makers impose on themselves, the unstated and unreasoned taboos that are accepted without a second thought, have the effect of preventing Americans from taking full advantage of their vast natural and intellectual resources. The result is a set of interlocked policies that needlessly undermine American security and worsen the general quality of life in American society.

Taboos obstructing honest evaluation of fundamental policy choices prevent American society from moving effectively in new and desperately needed directions. The American system is based on open debate to find answers to complex problems. That is the best system yet discovered for resolving national problems, but it only works when society faces its options honestly. New directions do exist for addressing this set of challenges, but the roads will only be found if we are willing to look for them.

Ironically, these fundamental decisions—precisely the ones meriting the most meticulous public debate—are typically the public policy decisions made with the least care, the least debate, the least thought. The results include a foreign policy based on military force even when force intensifies hostility; health care as a business rather than a right; environmental policy favoring consumption now rather than preservation for future generations; and an economic policy that has more or less steadily been enriching the super-rich and impoverishing the rest since the Reagan era.

The careful reader may notice an underlying similarity among the four policy arenas: a foreign policy based on force benefits the military-industrial complex, an environmental policy favoring consumption benefits corporations looking for short-term profits, the economic policy benefits the Wall Street, banking, and real estate businesses; the current health care system benefits the insurance and medical businesses. And all four harm the average American.

[Full article.]

Planning an "America-Replacement" Strategy for Afghanistan

The time has come for the U.S. to move past the simplistic “go or stay” debate to a focus on the full range of Afghan policy options. Washington urgently needs to design an honorable “America-replacement” strategy that substitutes an international Muslim civil society support program for the U.S.-centered war.

Three principles that currently seem almost taboo in Washington policy-making circles point the way to an honorable exit strategy from Afghanistan for the U.S. These principles are of course moot to the degree that Washington may have no intention of leaving, but for those searching for an American exit strategy that leaves Afghanistan in peace, these principles offer an initial set of guidelines.

  1. Local Control: Muslim socio-political reform should be managed first by locals and second by neighboring non-Western societies;
  2. Civil Society First: The method should always give precedence to civil society reform with military action firmly subordinated;
  3. Afghan Independence: The goal should not be incorporation into the American system but the establishment of an independent society.


In the next issue...

“Oh, dear. What can we do?”

What can we do about the war with Islam, the recession, the health care debacle, and other national emergencies in the U.S.?

Quite a bit, actually, but it all starts with attitude.

The article will focus on health care and the recession... 


Islamic World Tipping Point

The Central Asian-Middle Eastern region is currently at a tipping point, where any one of at least three historic shifts is possible. 

The first possible shift is the “Netanyahu option,” a nuclear strike on Iran that would, if successful, empower Israeli rightwing militarists dreaming of Israeli domination of the region. Success is highly unlikely, however, since the aftermath of a nuclear strike would be a classic case of a complex (i.e., unpredictable) situation. The winner would probably be bin Laden.

The second possible shift is what I will optimistically call the “Obama option,” a breakthrough in U.S.-Iranian relations that would stabilize the region and greatly facilitate American efforts to resolve the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts. Although this option would require recognizing Iran’s emergence to regional prominence with the right to choose its own path and constraining the war party in Washington, the result would be a relatively stable regional balance of power curbing both the threat of Israeli nuclear aggression and Iranian nuclear militarization.

The third possible shift is the “Putin option,” a breakthrough in Russian-Iranian relations at American expense, propelled by mutual concern over the strategic threat of rising American military power in Central Asia. Various cooperative steps in the energy, maritime in this direction, motivated by intense U.S.-Israeli threats against Iran, are already visible. Such a bilateral breakthrough at American expense would encourage both Iranian and Israeli extremism, wreck the chances for resolving the Western-Iranian nuclear dispute, imperil the American adventure in Afghanistan, and very possibly end up destabilizing Pakistan or, perhaps, result in a distinct type of regional stability enforced by Russia, with the U.S. on the sidelines.

Site Author: William deB. Mills 

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