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Total number of comments: 14 (since 2015-03-13 16:34:58)

Robert N. Schwartz

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  • Gaza: Managing the Disaster isn't Enough; not one of 11,000 buildings repaired
    • Dr. Robert Schwartz 08/17/2015 at 1:57 pm

      I cannot help concluding that Israel, the land that the Chosen People of God settled, the land that hosted the Messiah. and the land that during two centuries hosted the arrival and flourishing of Arabs in great abundance, has become a land of ungodly and inhumane leaders, people who long ago carried the blessings and knowledge of the one, true God.

  • Saudi-led war in Yemen provokes Humanitarian Crisis, 1.2 mn. displaced
    • Dr. Robert Schwartz 08/15/2015 at 11:21 pm

      There is no way to determine where to start in an effort to bring the carnage to a halt. The ex-dictator is supported by perhaps a majority of army personnel, and they are aligned with the invading Houthi, which are supported by Iran. The legal and internationally recognized government has been on the run simply because there is not enough support for him, despite assistance by Saudi-Arabia and moral support of the UN. The losers are the people. They lose their lives as collateral damage. They suffer enormous injuries. Their homes have become rubble. They thirst, first for water, then for justice. Neither is forthcoming. Perhaps the best immediate solution is to send in a UN army to establish peace through the barrel of their guns. The world should no longer simply report on the human devastation. It is too diabolical, and no one will win but the people will lose.

  • How Likely are the GOP Presidential Candidates Top 10 to drag us into War?
    • Juan Cole:

      a) My position on ME involvement lies on the margins. The countries involved have all the bullets and other ammo they need to exterminate each other. The U.S. must stay out! Still, it is aiding and abetting the cause of freedom by bombing IS where it exists. What about Mr. Assad? We can offer moral support for the removal of Mr. Assad, but only with a complete program of what we want to follow. Nobody speaks of the net result, yet we have models, e.g., Libya, Yemen. We can offer encouragement, but extremist armies will not heed that, and meantime, the FSA, the regular army and many disparate ideologies are causing a blur across the once-peaceful landscape of Syria, albeit under the guns of a dictatorship.

      Should Mr. Assad resign? Who would fill the vacuum? Should the U.S. usher in ground troops? Who would they shoot at? What of virtually half the population? They are refugees in their own country, in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and wherever they can escape to.

      In conclusion, the U.S. should focus on assisting the refugees, offering counsel, med and food supplies. When the dust of battle has settled, they will remember American largesse, no matter who "wins" the most kaleidoscopic killing of our times, with opposing sides not even identified yet, and with regular fighters pitted against religious extremists that are repulsive to normal Muslims. Aside from ingrained hatreds and intolerance dating from 14 centuries ago, the people must recognize that each one of them has a "natural right" to his religious beliefs. Until that recognition arises through introspection and external observation, hatreds will continue to incubate in Syria and her neighbors. Families will be torn by war, neighborhoods destroyed, cities demolished and countries--they will become "Part II" of the topic of "The Ancient History of the ME" in less than 200 years of books, position papers, lectures and college courses. The greatest loss is always that of the human heart, distorted beyond measure because of the absence of "freedom of religion," the feeling that an Arab can go to the church or temple of his choice, without a bodyguard, without worrying about what his friend or cousin or neighbor or employer may think. At that time he will have become transformed. He will be a new man, truly human because he has been allowed to think for himself--not dictated to by his neighbors or his sect or his country. He will walk the streets of Damascus, as Saul did just before he became Paul. He can visit the very house in Syria where Saul became Paul through baptism. Paul's enemies at that time were Jews, who believed rightly that he had converted to Christianity, a metamorphosis unheard of, particularly by one such as Paul, who was in fact persecuting Christians as a soldier of the occupying Roman Empire.

      What eventually became of the Empire? Its leaders became converted to Catholicism--as it became known after A.D. 115--and then the citizens of the Empire, the largest ever developed in the entire history of the world. Peacefully, 33 provinces of diverse religious and ethnic identifications slowly began the peaceful conversion to Christianity. There was no suppression of beliefs. Those who chose to be Christians simply abandoned their earlier practices and beliefs and learned from priests and deacons the truths of the Catholic faith.

      Peace? It will begin with respect for each ethnicity's and each individual's personal beliefs, freely arrived at and openly practiced, evincing a true and correct respect for human nature and its indwelling convictions.

  • Syria's al-Qaeda captures US-Linked Free Syrian Army Commander, troops
    • Dr. Robert Schwartz 07/31/2015 at 3:11 pm

      I wrote just six months ago that the U.S. must avoid:
      a) sending even one bullet into the nebulous fray with its uncountable sides, each with a different objective in wanting to rid the country of its dictator; b) training troops of any persuasion because they claim to be "anti-Assad."

      No one has sorted out the chaotic sides; therefore, none should have been trusted to carry out any short-sighted WH view on how to assist in the removal of the dictator. We have 'no skin' in that game; we don't know why each side clashes with the other like so many balls on a pool table; above all, we have no notion of the next phase of Syria's tortured people when the dust has settled.

      Can the U.S. government tell us, the financing public, what the victors will do to improve the lives of the Syrians? The WH has not uttered a word on the subject, yet that is the crucial question for all the world, beginning with the Syrian people. Does the WH think the Free Syrian Army will host a convention of competing political views to see how to develop a new and free system of government?
      "Stay out of Syria. They have all the bullets they want."

  • Al-Qaeda in Syria rubs out 23 members of Druze Religious Minority, Persecutes Others
    • Robert N. Schwartz 06/15/2015 at 9:34 pm

      You ought to get a dose of truth, Rezan! Nothing I have read in years meets the tragically non-truth as your attempt to characterize "religion." I would like to help you...first, you must seek to clarify your understanding of religion by study, by searching for the truth, by showing God you are interested in catching up with the light that has been hidden through your lack of real study. You will know when, some day, you have "discovered" the truth of your own existence, your purpose in life, the human dissatisfaction with so much among so many on earth. Above all, you have omitted the rational "arguments" for the existence of God. Among them are the arguments from order, from purpose, from nature's very struggle to know God.

  • Washington asks, "Who lost Ramadi?" But Washington never had Ramadi
    • Andy, I believe that allowing IS to continue without checkmating it would be an even greater error on the part of all those bystander nations that print reports and photos, then stand by and watch.

      No matter who has been at fault in this region, it is incumbent upon the nations, both neighbors and distant, to stand up for the general principles dictated by humanity itself and stop the barbarism of IS. That savage group/army/ideology is comprised of a majority Sunni persuasion, but so is Ramadi. At this crucial stage, the people of Ramadi and of Iraq in general must face up to the enemy in their midst, viz., the evil excesses of humanity. All persuasions, Sunni, Shiite, Kurds must either coalesce to degrade and destroy or they will become the authors of their own demise, and Iraq will become the beacon of distorted Islam.

  • 38 Million displaced and homeless in their own Countries
    • Robert N. Schwartz 05/10/2015 at 2:08 pm

      All of us must offer relief, be it through food or med aid to international aid institutions. Unwilling to make that sacrifice? Pray for them. They lost everything but their lives.

  • Syria: What if Turkey and Saudi Arabia install al-Qaeda in Damascus?
    • Robert N. Schwartz 05/08/2015 at 2:15 pm

      For as long as the disaster of Syria has been conducted, I have been staunchly against our (U.S.) supplying arms to any of the disparate groups known as militants there. The groups are on their own. We know nothing of their true plans for a post-trauma Syria, once a beautiful country, whose people were very friendly toward visitors like me. No, weapons are in too great abundance in Syria. Second, why would the U.S. attempt to support violence there, where it is already a tragedy the outcome of which is unknowable and for which our country has no immediate or compelling reason to upend another of the world's dictators.

      The U.S. position should: Offer food and medical aid to the more than three million Syrian refugees, camped out in neighboring countries. When the dust of war has ended, they, at least, will be grateful to our country for assisting them in their suffering condition. It is very important that we don't support sending them abroad, away from their familiar culture, only to be offered the distortions of another culture and to be labeled refugees. Assist them near their homes. Make our weapons the relief of human suffering. Then we will have friends, no matter who ends up on top in the winless conflagration of Syria, the home of St. Paul, St. Ananias, and the streets and houses of Damascus that they made holy pilgrimage sites still flourishing because of their conversions to Christianity.
      Houston

  • Rand Paul: GOP Hawks are Obama's "Lapdogs;" McCain: Paul 'Worst Candidate'
    • Robert Schwartz 04/24/2015 at 10:19 am

      Anon: You express the global inconsistencies very well, thanks. It is especially contrary to logic for the West to support the overthrow of Assad in Syria. Who will benefit? Mr. Chaos! Who will offer retribution to the millions of innocent Syrians caught in the crossfire of foreign irregulars? The entire miasma ought to enter "freeze frame" immediately, and everyone ought to join hands to reconstruct a destroyed country. Yeaa! And the angels ought to descend en masse and collect all weapons and intolerance, too. I believe the U.S. ought to seek a UN resolution calling for a total halt to the violence and for the rebuilding of the country. Perhaps the UN can even serve as the acting government. Wait! What would Mr. Assad say? do?

    • Robert N. Schwartz 04/23/2015 at 3:02 pm

      The U.S. has made a mistake in following an impulse to topple a dictator without thinking through the various possible results. Gadhafi is ended, but it is an enormous error for all who have participated that they did not plan for the future, i.e., where their support might bear fruit. As a result, Libya is a violent and chaotic human miasma. In the case of Syria, the U.S. has no business entering the scene and attempting to topple one more of the world's dictators. Why? What is the endgame? Ask the State Department! The kind and gentle Syrians are not the major factors in that miasma. It is the irregular movements of "militants," and it appears the most potent among them are IS and al-Nusra. The U.S. has given military support to the Free Syrian Army, but even that is a sort of risk. What of Assad's friendly neighbors? These include Hezbollah, Iraq and Iran. The two countries are potent supporters of Assad, as is Hezbollah. Let them hammer out an agreement to see where the final peaceful resolution might lie. They know better than U.S. and other outsiders the best course of action.

      The U.S. should take one line of action, viz., send food and medical aid to the three million displaced Syrians. When the dust of war has settled, they, at least, will be grateful to our country for helping them in their desperation.

  • As US Consulate in Irbil. Iraq, is Bombed, can US still do Diplomacy in ME?
    • The U.S. has been a major player in financial and diplomatic affairs of the M.E. for nearly a century. It is perforce the leading nation of the world on many counts. For this reason it should be to no one's surprise that our country often takes blame for the eruption of new forces and violent inhumanities that occur both in the M.E. and parts of Africa. Still, no one who believes that the U.S. stands for humanity's best ideals, inscribed in the world's oldest constitution, ought to be so careless about facts surrounding global human earthquakes as to imagine that even one of them was intentionally processed by our country. Secondary effects are many times responsible for illnesses that erupt across the globe, and the U.S. is falsely and illogically blamed because of its involvement in affairs which have often led up to those illnesses but for which the U.S. is not the "efficient cause" at all. The U.S. was involved in Yemen but withdrew 100 military two weeks ago as Houthi forces brought new violence southward. Was the U.S. to blame? Then, in the aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam, irregular forces brought ceaseless violence against civilians in Iraq. Was it in any way planned by the U.S., the main intent of our country being to help the majority overthrow a ruthless dictator and to assure that the country would develop no access to nuclear power. In the case of Syria, disparate forces have contrary interests in overthrowing through violence the Assad dictatorship in that country so blessed by the conversion of Saul to the greatest writer of Christian letters of the very first century of Christianity, St. Paul. No one knows the outcome of the tragedy for the civilians of Syria, but their lives and homes have been forever altered by the attempts to overthrow the stable dictatorship of a country whose people have been as warm and hospitable as any an American could ever expect to meet across the M.E. Should the U.S. send in weapons? Clearly, it should be the last act ever offered by this country to assist...who? Contradictory ideologies infest the violence-producers that have already destroyed half the country. Do these unidentifiable forces need weapons? Does the world know what any single group would do, were its violent leaders to gain control of the beautiful country of Syria? The final note I can add: Stay out of Syria physically. Bring violent sides together and have them offer the world their plan for the future of Syria. Then we will have a perspective on what the world's leader--and all other interested parties--might do to bring relief to the land that first witnessed the fire of Christ's message that flowed from the Romans' torture-methods in Jerusalem.

  • War with Iran, by the Numbers
    • I believe "spyguy" states it best: No one wins a war!
      The U.S. must promote all existing friendships in the M.E.
      It must form new, additional friendships in the M.E.
      It must work in consort with the UN and European countries to complete a satisfactory treaty with Iran: the fear is that Iran could or would become an ogre, a loose cannon, if it were to acquire nuclear weapons. This would prompt neighboring countries to enter the same "arms race," which the world knows has simmered down with the end of Russia's communism.
      We, the world, do not want another "Cold War threat" from the M.E. The world is too interdependent. Its members need each other, for trade and human assistance.
      WAR must be a "non-option." To establish a final link to this option, the countries of the M.E. must establish religious freedom in the way that it is established and functioning in the U.S. The M.E. must come to see that its members' rivalries flow entirely from the absence of religious freedom for all.

  • Contrary to Israeli PM, alternative to realistic Iran Nuclear Deal is *no* Deal
    • Robert N. Schwartz 03/13/2015 at 12:28 pm

      Nobody,

      The hackneyed statement that warlords in the principled party want war, seek profits at the expense of our citizens and other cliches are so ridiculous that I feel it is a waste event to express the statement. To suggest that those sectors drive our principled party is...well, do you really believe that huge sectors of our economy loathe us? and would sacrifice us to the opened palm? So ridiculous. What a cliche! What an abused animal! How about all the clothiers who would make military uniforms and...body bags? and the food industry that would be motorized to serve the guys on the front lines? Please don't spend your time looking for hackneyed ideas on militarists.

  • Ghosts of Saladin, Saddam & Khomeini: Tikrit Campaign's Historical Meaning
    • Thank you, Juan Cole, for insights, as usual.
      The best that can come from the conflagration in Iraq is that Shia and Sunni factions may finally see the light, viz., that conflicting religious beliefs must be accepted--peacefully. Second, Iraq must see that extremism is no longer acceptable in their country nor in the Middle East. Third, Iraq is in a good position to signal to the world that religious freedom is a universal value of human beings, and therefore, Iraq should consider taking the initiative in human tolerance--towards Christians and Jews alike. This would be a step forward in redeeming its decade of warfare and striving for peace, which will set the stage for further democratic values inherent in ALL of humanity, but which is sorely lacking in too many neighbors of Iraq. Let Iraq show a sense of its history of suffering through sectarianism. Let Iraq be delivered from its hatreds and religious apprehensions by, finally, after such great suffering, so much foreign bloodshed, show a new face and turn its back to its religious intolerance, and become a beacon of human values that have never yet materialized in so many corners of a land with biblical forebears and brilliant humanists who knew that peace of mind will only follow the human characteristics of love, tolerance and understanding.

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