China and it’s Hemisphere of Influence.

In the age of global superpowers or even hemispheric powers, China is not on the same level as the United States (US) or even Russia. The United States has enjoyed unparalleled power and influence in the western hemisphere since the Monroe Doctrine in 1823.

Since American expansion and the spread of liberalism following the end of World War two and the Cold War, the United States has gone unmatched in terms of influence, not only in their own hemisphere but around the world.

China has serious military and monetary power. It had begun to spread it’s influence, most notably in Africa while struggling to command similar influence in it’s own hemisphere. The subject of hemispheric influence or lack thereof has come to light in recent months. Following the election of Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States, the US has taken a more aggressive foreign policy toward Pyongyang. Trump had asserted that North Korea is “behaving very bad” and “China has done very little to help” in a tweet sent out in March.

As tensions have risen between the United States and North Korea, China is being dragged into the role of mediator as the Unites States threatens unilateral action against Pyongyang. During a meeting between both Presidents of China and the United States, President Xi Jinping informed President Trump that China does not have as much influence over North Korea as is assumed.

What does this mean? well, if China lacks influence over Pyongyang that means the Americans will step in with military action. With possible support from China, Russia, Japan and South Korea. The consequences of such action would be an unimaginable death toll. For China to show it is a superpower and has hemispheric influence, they would need to act. Be it diplomatically or militarily. If they wish to reduce the influence of the US in the region.

Now is the time for China to step up and on the other hand, now is the time for the Us to grow its influence to greater levels.

I’ll finish with this: How would China feel about a divided North Korea or a Korea occupied by American forces? that would US forces on the door to China and on the border of Russia.

History.state.gov. (2017). Milestones: 1801–1829 – Office of the Historian. [online] Available at: https://history.state.gov/milestones/1801-1829/monroe [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Twitter. (2017). Donald J. Trump on Twitter. [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/842724011234791424?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.latimes.com%2Fpolitics%2Fla-pol-updates-everything-president-1489761191-htmlstory.html [Accessed 29 Apr. 2017].

Sowed Seeds

Trump triumphs, brexit rolls on and all things in the middle are questioned. With Trump’s win in the USA, on the back of a campaign inspired by hate and division but powered bytrump the simple need of jobs, of an income, trumped the ideals of the left. The working class were left behind, that’s a fact, not only in the USA but across the globe. As society progressed on through the 80’s and the middle classes increased, people and politicians no longer had to worry about poverty or low income, they could then turn their focus on how they lived. Human rights, work life balance, yoga, new cars and other technologies.

As we entered the era of making ‘money from money’ things became a lot riskier. As the globe became interconnected through the financial markets (globalisation) what happened on one side of the word now affected the other side of the world.

The crash of 2008 shrunk the middle class, people were now less well off, in debt, behind on mortgage payments and with no disposable income for luxury good or vacations to distract them from the world’s woes, people were now forced to become politically aware and politically engaged.

Over the past 8 years of recession, with slow change and a loss of confidence in the financial policies of the neoliberals, a loss of confidence in the well established politicians and now the media, people have begun to revolt. As mentioned above, Donald Trump won the USA Presidential election and Britain have voted to separate from the European Union. Left wing and right wing parties have gained significant ground. Duterte in the Philippines, openly confessed to killing people has been pushing a new war on drugs with thousands dead in three months, killed by the police, killed by other gangs and vigilantes. Marion-Le Pen, a far right politician in France, presidential hopeful for 2017. Syriza in Greece, Podemos in Spain which has
transformed the Spanish political scene. fractured-eu

Whats next for 2017? will Europe begin to separate?
will France elect a far right President?
how about war in the South China Sea or in Eastern Europe with the build up of NATO forces in Poland. All I know is that some bad seeds have been sowed and what grows wont be good for anyone.

If I work really really hard, just maybe….

Recently I seen the movie ‘The Giver’ …

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.

This movie is fascinating. It debates the idea of equality, brought in through a system of sameness. A community where there is no war, pain or famine. A community where people have no choice in life, from choosing their family to their careers.

In the movie, the character played by Meryl Streep says “when humans are given choices they always make the wrong ones”.

It made me think a lot about our purpose and what we do with our time. The average life in Ireland lasts 81 years. When you consider that from the ages of 4-21, which is 17 years are spent in full time education, then the average person works until the retirement age of 65. That then leaves you with 16 years of your life, that’s 44 years working full time.

What is it all for ?

when I visualise this in my head I automatically think of a conveyor belt. The start of the journey is similar for most, but the turns you take, the levels you rise and fall are determined on the situation your family are in. Most likely their financial situation. The more money they have or make the more choices that become available to you as you continue this conveyor belt journey from play school, through primary and secondary school, then into university. To be “educated”  in one of the course choices you made on your CAO application, or so you thought! The course you chose can only become available if you attained the required number of points on your leaving certificate, this can be greatly influenced by the school you attended, whether you had an option of support out side of school hours and the educational level of your parents and family at large.

So to cap, you’ve studied for a long time, to get a course you didn’t particularly want, to become “employable” to work a job/career you have zero passion for, to buy lots of overpriced material goods, properties and services. To live through a number of financial recessions only to see your pay decline, taxes increase and public services stripped to the bone, even though you’ve contributed your earnings (tax) to them over the decades.

Now at the age of 45, the income you’re bringing home after years of working hard is now equal to or less than the income you started with on day one. If you’ve been lucky to keep your pay at the level it was before then the new taxes and tax increases will have gotten you, plus you’ve to pay a lot more to use public services like the bus. Did I forget to mention that you’re in negative equity. The 350,000€ home you bought 10 years ago is now worth 265,000€ thanks to the property bubble created by a bunch of lads and some women who don’t seem to have been affected that much, they’re now back in business, buying, developing and selling.

So now you go on your way and be a good citizen, work harder, longer hours, less pay, pay more in tax for reduced services so the government can pay back the billionaires that lost money and blame it one you, the citizens.

So I ask myself again, what is it all about?

Save the people not the monetary system

As someone who values a life more than money I really don’t understand fully why things are the way they are…. I have this belief that if we put the welfare of all people first we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in.

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Savin a private company, investment or investor may seem like the logical thing but saving people from poverty, homelessness, inequality and sometimes from their own decisions is the most morale thing and in my view the most logical.

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In a decade or two from now we will look back and laugh, saying to ourselves ‘what the hell! were we thinking? We drove millions into unemployment, pushed millions into poverty, manipulated our so called democracy all in the name of a capitalist system that does not, has not and will never work for the people’.

We really do need a new system in place over the one we have now.

Power for the people, from the people

J.Myers

Prioritising capitalism

I just read that there is over 700,000 people in Ireland who are in poverty. As a percentage that is close to 16% of the population of Ireland.

It also says for someone to be above the line of poverty they must have a weekly income of €207, Even though the weekly rate for unemployed people is around €186. So what that says is that our own government have put in measures that push people and families into poverty. A government that is still paid handsomely with expenses and other benefits.

I find it upsetting that this is the way, we should not accept this as our fellow citizens, men, women and even children go without food, warmth, clothing and many other things. On the back of a bailout that has cost this country tens of billions of euros.

For something to be worth saving in this country it better be money because we put no value on life.

Destruction! Not only of a generation but of the Labour party.

I see the policy’s and plans that fine Gael and labour as a government have brought in, then I ask myself? What does the labour party represent nowadays ? Surely not water charges, taxes on homes and an overall austerity plan? Have they lost their core voters just like the green party In the last election???

I would like to see how many labour voters would vote for labour if a sudden general election was called. I would think they would be wiped out with many of their votes going to SF, Not because they have what it takes but because they are left in the political sphere along with many independent candidates From United Left Alliance. The next government could have as many independents as party politicians.

Eamon Gilmore will be remembered as Brian Cowen will, for destroying the party and it’s
Core values.

J.Myers

Ireland today and tomorrow.

We live in a tough time, where our most vulnerable are targeted and pushed even deeper into the trap of poverty and long term suffering. Where been disabled, a student, young, poor or even a single parent can make YOU a target to burden the losses of gamblers and criminals.

It is a shame that the welfare of the people is not taken into account when it comes to dealing with the finances of our country.

“When the welfare is second to that of greed then those in power have lost all moral leadership”

It is also a complete tragedy when the sovereignty of our nation is handed to those in Europe and beyond. The people who laid their life down for the freedom of Ireland are turning in their grave. Especially that of James Connolly when he see’s Labour propping up Fine Gael and standing behind such budgets such as the budget of 2011 and possibly more budgets in the future.

We need a party of the people, for the people, accountable to the people and steered by the people. A party that represents all people be them employed, unemployed, public, private, disabled, young, old, male, female or LGBTQ. All should be included in the policies of a party or even be given the opportunity to do so.  Michael D Higgins or present president talks about inclusion in society; I do wonder what his thoughts on the budget are. Does he agree with the steps his former party have taken? Will he speak out for the people and influence those in power for the good of the people.

Real visible, physical change is needed and not just nice rhetoric. Change in attitudes, values and of how we see ourselves.

Education is a must and to cut its funding is one of short sight and incompetence. The resignation of Ruairi Quinn should be south from all in the education sector especially those who he made a written promise to. We cannot create a better future if our youth are not educated or given a fair chance to education.

True seeds of leadership need to be sown today to lead tomorrow.

Do not hold your breath but hold on to hope.

 

Jonathan Myers.