By Deeptanshu Singhvi
The developed world has sought many methods to locate and punish human rights violators – but few of these plans have targeted the root cause. Little do these officials know that the cause of this international problem is rooted in the very nation that preached human rights from its early stages. Located in Fort Benning, Georgia is a training camp called “The School of Americas,” in which graduates have learned how to gain military strength and how to use such power against enemies. Originally located in Panama, after a series of bureaucratic interventions, the school was relocated to Georgia.
Had it not been for the fact that many of these graduates went to become dictators of corrupt regimes, the amount of real world success The School of Americas has had would be astonishing. In reality though, from its infamous alumni, 11 have become Latin American Dictators known to stir up unnecessary violence. Some include Argentina’s Leopoldo Galtieri, Rios Montt of Guatemala and Raoul Cédras of Haiti. Frightened of future consequences six countries have withdrawn their troops from the school; these countries include Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Ecuador.
To be specific, the school’s impact is still sending shocks throughout the world today: four of its graduates helped orchestrate the 2009 coup in Honduras. Many of the immoral and forceful strategies used by these were derived from their handbook, which advocated “the use of fear, payments of bounties for enemy dead, extortion, beatings and false imprisonment, as well as the use of truth serum.”
In light of recent events, many dissenters of The School of Americas have gathered outside the fences protesting the continuation of such a military program. 17,000 individuals have gathered and streamed into the town; while this has not been positive for the school it has attracted business in Georgia. With food stands overflowing with lines, the town has earned approximately 2.2 million dollars. Disappointing for the protesters, the committee didn’t acquiesce to any of their demands. In fact, to the further the aggravation many of these demonstrators were arrested.
Theoretically, the school curriculum is taught by the US Army’s most accomplished generals and should give third world leaders a chance to advance their own countries. In actuality, when real life events are factored in, many of these graduates use the techniques to subvert the truth, to muzzle union leaders, activist clergy, and journalists, and to make war on their own people. Clearly, immorality on the part of these graduates can distort the intention of The School of Americas.
Furthermore, the actions of the graduates are not limited within the boundaries of the United States. Rather, after graduation many of these graduates return to their home countries and function as a part of that country. Just recently, In Honduras, General Humberto Ragalado Hernandez, was trained at the SOA at the same time that he was linked to Columbian drug cartels, and the highest ranking officers in the Honduran Death Squad were trained at SOA as well. While the havoc wrecked by the graduates of the school may evidence the effectiveness of the curriculum, it doesn’t justify the damage done. With that said, there should be reasonable causality for the general public to protest the institution. Ultimately, the impact of SOA graduates on Latin American freedom has been devastating. Armed with sophisticated training, modern weapons, and up-to-date techniques of control and surveillance, graduates of the SOA have terrorized their own countrymen for a generation. In fact, many of the protesters edited the true title for the school, referencing it as The School of Assassins.
In terms of sustainability of the school, funding must be considered; as of 2012 the school functions with 246,000 dollars in public funds. More astounding, the school spent more than 9,000 dollars on media monitoring software and 50,000 dollars on access to internet to try and lobby for a bill in congress. This bill, very extraneous to the school’s mission, attempted to divide the church and army even more. Slowly as the school has gained in funding it has been squandering sums of money to useless goals.
Most importantly, the constituents of the United States must learn that their own country has indirectly propagated the rise in human rights abuses. Although the school began with noble intentions, its continuation has been plagued with corruption. It is time that a national movement to restrict the actions of the graduates triumph against the government bureaucracy.
By Deeptanshu Singhvi
Scarcity of resources has always governed the decisions of the human race, even when life was at its most primitive stage. As oil has grown scarcer, governments across the world have been incentivized to start up new projects. Eternal energy is a prime goal and geothermal breakthroughs may help achieve this goal. In fact, global emissions of carbon dioxide have been the highest ever in 2012, and the threat of climate change is becoming imminent.
When tracing back geothermal energy through human history, one can easily spot how geothermal energy has been used in the art of cooking. In layman’s terms, geothermal energy is the concept behind extracting energy from beneath the earth’s crusts. Stored within the crust of the earth are huge amounts of thermal energy or heat energy, which can be used to power and supply much of the electricity we require today.
In light of current systems that create geothermal energy, there are three crucial processes: these methods include dry steam, flash, and binary technology. Dry steam, the oldest geothermal technology, takes steam out of fractures in the ground and uses it to directly drive a turbine. Flash plants take high-pressure hot water into colder, low-pressure water. Responding to the change in environment, the steam generated from this process is used to drive the turbine. A report by National Geographic assessed that, “In binary plants, the hot water is turned to vapor, which then drives a turbine. Most geothermal power plants in the future will be binary plants.”
On the international context, more than 20 countries worldwide are currently utilizing some form of geothermal energy. In the rankings, the United States comes out on the top with the title of producing the most geothermal energy. However, deeper dissection within the statistical analysis reveals that this is more luck than technique: the largest geothermal production is caused by the geysers in Yellowstone National Park.
Theoretically, the concept behind geothermal energy involves a very low risk atmosphere. On the contrary, after implementation, it has been observed that excessive production of geothermal energy can be linked to the release of hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas, which can have disastrous consequences if excessively inhaled. Furthermore, numerous petitions have been signed to minimize geothermal energy extractions. The threat of drilling too deep into the surface of earth prompts great caution. In fact, a project by Seattle-based AltaRock Energy, would have fractured bedrock and extracted heat by digging more than two miles beneath the surface. Documents provided to the New York Times revealed that the project had been unsuccessful on numerous accounts, ultimately putting the corporation in debt of about 6 million dollars. To further the possible risk of damage, a letter addressed by Cathy Zoi, an assistant energy secretary, explained that, “the AltaRock project would have a significant impact on the human environment.”
Despite the serious drawbacks that have been found within Geothermal Energy, Obama has invested 359 million dollars in an Oregon Project to oversee whether the harms have any merit. If they do, the president seeks to find quick solutions so there is another source of alternative energy available for corporations to use. Astoundingly, the results have been positive. Ernie Majer, a seismologist and deputy director of the Earth Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said that the new standards were a welcome development. The letters show that the department “is being ultra-careful about any induced seismicity,” he said, referring to earthquakes triggered by humans. On a more detailed analysis, there have been regulations to monitor ground movement. Preventative measures are necessary for the development of Geothermal energy.
To make the transition between fossil fuel related energy and renewable energy, a whole new level of bureaucracy has been established. This governmental action will help reduce the chance of any risk while at the same time act as a temporary solution to meet the rising demand for energy. Some experts say we might have hit peak oil – scarcity is forcing humans to make geothermal energy a feasible avenue.
By Deeptanshu Singhvi
The Fed Funds Rate is Zero Bound and interest rates have plummeted to help stimulate a surge in demand. While job growth in the last few quarters has averaged at around 288,000, this quarter there were only a mere 88,000 jobs created. Economists are releasing statements daily regarding the accuracy of such numbers – but no one knows for sure the true cause of this job loss. Is it just an anomaly? Does the Fed have the resources to tackle this economic blow?
Currently, in order to cope with job growth by population, during each quarter 91,000 jobs need to be created. At 88,000 jobs, the U.S. economy is already below this average, which is negatively impacting the labor participation rate. A large cause for this extreme unemployment is the mediocrity of America’s Educational System – as employed workers are not trained well, structural employment tends to increase. Due to this mismatch between American workers and the skills needed in the jobs sector, the FED is powerless against stimulating job growth. To exacerbate this situation, cyclical unemployment that has made workers inefficient for long periods of time has rid employees of valuable skills, turning into a vicious cycle of unemployment.
Although the United States is spending double its budget than it did in the last decade on education, achievement levels have been outpaced by international competitors. Specifically, United States Fourth Graders are ranked 11th in math, and 7th graders are ranked 8th in science. While these may be relatively high, it offers no optimism for job growth. Firms and companies are outsourcing these jobs to higher qualified individuals in China, India, or Honk Kong where the pay is less but the quality is higher. During the financial crisis of 2008, the Congressional Research Service mapped out a new numerical number measuring the number of experienced unemployed workers divided by job openings. As the recession hit its peak and job growth was at a low, these numbers more than tripled; for example, the ratio for educational job services in 2007 was 0.3, but in 2010 jumped to 2.3. Clearly, even if the job openings existed, comparative business advantage in other nations was keeping jobs away from average Americans. Critics of the Fed have commented that lowering interest rates cannot slow down market forces such as the offshoring of essential jobs.
The clear fallacy between the FED’s goal to target structural unemployment through lowered interest rates poses an imminent threat to the American economy. In fact, due to the separation of the FED and Congress, Bernanke has no power to make Congress invest in the training of human capital. Rather than restructuring the entitlements program of the United States, congressman have passed a sequester cut of 85 billion dollars which severely harms the efficacy of American education. On a more numerical note, the FED previously issued statements saying that it would overlook possible asset purchasing halts. On the contrary, due to these unemployment figures, Bernanke has revised the proposal and plans to continue large scaled asset purchases at a pace of $85 billion dollars per month. Specifically, the Federal Reserve invests 440 billion dollars in short term securities and $45 billon dollars in longer term treasury securities. Stressing the limitations of lower interest rates, Eric S. Rosengren, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston president, said in a recent interview that, “I think we’re pushing the interest-sensitive sector about as far as we’re going to be able to push it at this time.”
Recently, the Fed’s goal to flatten the yield curve and lower mortgage interest rates has benefitted the housing market. By lowering mortgage interest rates there has been a clear alleviation on refinances and housing starts have increased by 46.7%. Consistent with the famous American Dream, the average middle class family in America invests most in buying a house. As the housing starts indicator shows positive signs, other industries such as construction, furniture, and land continue to grow. While the expansion of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has upheld economic recovery in the eyes of the housing market, experts argue that if the FED’s balance sheet gets too large it may lose the credibility of monetary policy. Employees of the Federal Reserve are hoping for normalized policy; a Wall Street Journal study estimates the size of the balance sheet to be so enormous that the newspaper estimates it would take longer than 10 years to normalize.
Also, recently the Federal Reserve’s exit strategy has come into question; in an event of extreme expansion of the balance sheet, the Federal Reserve will slowly have to halt asset purchases. In fact, it will also have to stop the principal payments on interest to make sure that it has tight grip on money supply. To ensure that no trouble is received while pursuing this policy, the FED has been granted a revolutionary new tool, which charges interest on the reserve requirement. By being able to take more capital from banks in exchange for treasury securities, contractionary monetary policy in the future can enable a proper exit strategy. This new tool is necessary as the balance sheet has expanded to 6% of the United States GDP, slightly over 4 trillion dollars. Simple efforts to slow down asset purchases will consume too much time, and make it impossible for a facilitated recovery.
The economy is undergoing vast change and new forces are acting upon the demand side of the financial sector. The Federal Reserve, however, even in these tough circumstances must evaluate the merits of its policy and assess the risks with each course of action. A decision to normalize policy can have a profound impact on economic prosperity and consumer confidence.
By Deeptanshu Singhvi
As technological development has sped up during the 21st century, the threat of nuclear war continues to encroach upon us. Although the Nuclear Arms Treaty targets peaceful nuclear use among all sovereign nations, it has become increasingly clear that the threat of nuclear war is disproportionately high because of a few specific nations – Iran and North Korea. President Obama recently pushed through a United Nations Resolution that would eliminate the loopholes in nuclear security.
Problems with previous resolutions have sparked international dissent; members of the United Nations complain that President Obama’s policies are singling out certain nations. In fact, the crippling sanctions against Iran that were approved last year have lived up to this accusation. In response, President Obama issued a statement explaining that, “This is not about singling out an individual nation. International law is not an empty promise, and treaties must be enforced.” Despite the brutal criticisms the nuclear sanctions faced, Obama’s policy drastically slowed oil trade in the Iranian economy, and crippled the nation’s nuclear budget. In fact, the damage was on a large scale as the Iran Government even declared a temporary shut-down of their infamous nuclear program. Quantitatively, $2 billion dollars of resources worth of resources were funneled away from Iran’s nuclear mission. To further the drastic crisis, inflation in the economy has increased by 176% over the last year and has impacted the lives of ordinary citizens.
Currently, the most recent nuclear arms resolution, has advocated for disarmament talks and more diplomatic cohesion. Members of the United Nations want to offer Iran some concession in order to slow down the heavy nuclear growth within the region. For example, last year, a German Green Energy Corporation submitted a proposal to the United Nations asking permission to help Iran with its solar energy facility so that the nation would consider curbing its nuclear program development. However, some of these concessions have backfired on the United Nations goal – last year Turkey shipped Iran 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.
Recently, the nuclear resolution to mandate talks with Iran has not only gained momentum in the United Nations but also has been accepted by the otherwise stubborn Iran. Ali Baqeri, one of the deputy heads of the Nuclear Program in Iran, in an interview with Reuters explained that Iran had enriched some if its reactors to 20%, and already started operations to convert the uranium into reactor fuel. Iran is also pursuing diplomatic talks with the EU, and hopes to gain some form of leniency. Iran is simply pursuing its right to enrichment – however, foreign powers have reasonable doubt to believe that an imminent threat might be next and are justified in taking precautionary action.
Furthermore, recent humanitarian projects in the United Nations have prompted fewer resources and discussion over nuclear talks. Recently forces have been increased to help in African Hunger efforts, restorations in Yemen, the Syrian rebel crisis as well as the aid in Mali. Resources are being diverted to other peacekeeping operation, which harms the credibility of nuclear issues. While it may appear on the surface that nuclear talks may be on the low, Obama has pushed for other policies that can trap the growth in international violence. Just recently, the International Arms Treaty was approved on a majoritarian vote. On the numerical front, all 193 member states reached an agreement on the piece of legislation.
Specifically, General Ban Ki Mon expressed his admiration for this new treaty when he claimed it to be “powerful new tool in efforts to prevent grave human rights abuses.” UNICEF, a sub division of the United Nations, welcomed the treaty and has promised more intervention to make sure that standards are met. The United States exports 30% of the world’s gun materials, and has heavy regulations – experts consider this to be a heavy factor in Obama’s support for the passage of this treaty. The United Nations has taken a supply side approach; it seeks to end global government corruption and individual militias that unjustly exert their rule on innocent people.
Ultimately, while there are international discrepancies, the United Nations is taking innovative strides to push for international safety. Whether they target the supply side chain or employ armed forces, the United Nation has pledged to aim for prosperity.
By Deeptanshu singhvi
As the United States role in the Afghanistan War winds down, terror still plagues the corners of Pakistan. Despite sending numerous aid packages and military reinforcements to Pakistan, the U.S. fails to spot the improvement militant nation. In fact, as a result, many governmental officials are contemplating whether or not to suspend all aid to Pakistan. The Associated Press reveals that currently the government has already suspended slightly over one-third of aid that goes to Pakistan, mostly military. However, government officials do not think this is enough and prefer to terminate all aid. What they neglect thought, is absolutely imperative; by forgoing the delicate relationship with Pakistan, the government will drastically impair security goals within both regions.
First and foremost, by suspending aid, the United States will foster a humanitarian crisis within Pakistan. Despite the heavy moral consequences, this will deepen enmity between the two nations. Currently, US AID has trained 11,000 health care providers, provided 126 ambulances, upgraded 89 health care facilities, and has helped provide safe drinking water to over 1.5 million people. Moreover, the short-term flood relief package has also assisted 12 million people. Ultimately, this decreases anti-US sentiment as Shuja Nawaz from the Washington Post finds that this disaster relief assistance has increased American favorability among Pakistanis by 200%. Aiming at the root of terrorism, Lisa Curtis from the Heritage Organization assesses that since the US participates in training over 16,000 teachers and positively educating over 360,000 children. This prevents students from attending “madrassahs,” extremist schools with many ties to terrorist organizations such as the Al-Qaeda. Therefore, the humanitarian assistance is of key importance to both the United States and Pakistan. Suspending this aid, would be a massive mistake.
In addition, economic aid to Pakistan also plays a large role. Because there is a high causality between poverty and terrorism, by alleviating poverty, short term terrorist recruitment as well as long term terrorist uprisings can be prevented. In fact, in a study by the Pakistan Institute for Studies, it is reported that the vast majority of terrorist recruits in Pakistan involve civilians from the bottom 3 quintiles. The United States has trained 70,000 women for jobs, increased crop yields by 60%, and created numerous export centers to maximize employment. Holistically, this financial aid has increased Pakistan GDP growth by 2% each year. As prosperity between Pakistani constituents rises, the incentive to take part in terrorism decreases. Once again, aid mutually benefits both nations.
US military aid to Pakistan is also a crucial part. Michael Tacik from Austin State University outlines that Pakistani Nuclear Weapons, because in contact with instability, are the greatest threat to US Security. Therefore, any added protection to the Nuclear Weapons is a security benefit. The American Progress Institute signifies the vitality of the US role as it is responsible for furnishing electronic monitoring and surveillance systems, intrusion detectors, ID systems, as well as nuclear detection technology. Also, by training 100,000 physical security personnel and by forcing Pakistani officials to move the warheads in more secure areas the United States participates in effectively protecting the weapons.
Last but not least, suspending U.S. aid will have a domino effect on many other NGO’s. The United States currently channels 92% of its aid through many NGO’s; the moment it withdraws the money, these NGO’s will be crippled. Also, the military aspect of the United States Aid protects many NGO workers from violence and creates the environment for rehabilitation. Altogether, a suspension would render many negative externalities within Pakistan.
It is important that critics realize the mutual benefits that we gain from Pakistan. Suspending aid is a negative decision, and will drastically increase the tension between the nations. The chance of peace that the U.S. has geared towards for many decades can be shattered in an instance.
By Deepetanshu Singhvi
United States debt can be estimated to increase exponentially. With increased money owed comes an increase in the number of economic enigmas. For example, a series of shocks spread through-out the financial world when Standards and Poor 500 cut the long term Triple A US credit rating by one notch to a Double A plus. In fact, other nations’ debts are not inconspicuous. Just this week, various corporations have degraded the ratings of numerous European Countries including Spain, Italy, and countless others.
One of the biggest occasions in fluctuating credit ratings encompassed that of Spain. Fitch Ratings, a corporation parallel to S&P500, dropped Spain’s credit rating down by 2 notches (From an AA+ to an AA-). Spain’s rating, which was AAA until 2010, has been lowered twice due to its intensified involvement within the Euro crisis, slower growth, and failing attempts at recovery procedures. Fitch projects Spain’s growth pattern as it says it expects Spanish growth to remain below 2 percent a year through 2015. Additionally, they quantify the impotent recovery attempts as Spain is paying yields of around 5 percent on its 10-year bonds even after the European Central Bank stepped in to prop up its bond market on Aug. 8. Unemployment rates remain above 21% and regional governments expected to hire half of Spain’s public workers are behind schedule. In a general perspective, conditions are not favorable to bring any alleviation to the drastic economic status.
To further observe Fitch’s ratings, one should look to the Italian bond crisis. Fitch downgraded Italy’s rating by one notch to tie Italy with Spain, both being at an AA-. Being Europe’s second largest debt (owing 1.9 trillion dollars), many determine that Italy should boost it’s international credibility to keep its financial house proper while at the same time encourage the populous to spend more on the bond market. Italy has not only hit by one corporation but both Moody’s Investor Service and S&P500 have degraded the ratings by a considerable amount. Many cite that the cost preventing Italy’s debt to reach default has doubled since the dawn of this year. In similarity to the Spanish crisis, Italian economic growth has had many impediments. It is enumerated that the financial growth from 2001 to 2010 has constituted of about only 0.2% annually. However the staggering part is that Greece has to combat a more magnified issue. Condition within the European economies is not at all at a high point and until bond investors gain more trust within the economy, growth will remain minimal.
All in all, it is easy to say that the US isn’t alone when comparing debts. In wake of such adverse conditions credit ratings won’t be on the rise till there is the institution of a feasible solution. Generally, the governments of these countries need to enforce unique policies that can increase the certainty of return which in turn will facilitate of recovery rates.