Monday, August 18, 2014

Occupy USA


The request for the arrival of the National Guard may seem alarmist, however it’s actually a counter-intuitive savvy move by the Missouri governor to reduce unrest. And because the US government did not directly request – “federalize” – the National Guard, their deployment to Ferguson, Mo is not legally defined as “troops.”



Because the black community has expressed their fury and frustration by the “disrespect” directed at them by the Ferguson police for many years, law enforcement’s continued presence, particularly in military gear and equipment, would only escalate the crisis further. The National Guard is a de facto UN Peacekeeping force (or should we now say “US peacekeeping force”?), a neutral crowd-control force whose presence placates the community to a certain degree and relieves the pressure on local law enforcement.  Additionally, the National Guard’s occupying presence is temporary vs. a permanent presence by local police. This maneuver also buys time, not much, for review and negotiations.

Now just think how astounding it is that Missouri deployed an overwhelming force to quell unrest in a small community of about 21,000 residents. We’ve deployed fewer soldiers to occupy Iraqi cities. Compare Ferguson to larger communities with fury and frustration, notably the NYC nabes of Brownsville and East New York.  Brownsville has a population of about 58,000, 98% of which are people of color.  East New York has a population of 183,000 of which 88% are people of color. Both these nabes almost half the families are below the poverty line compared to Ferguson, Mo which has about20% under the poverty line.  Just imagine how much law enforcement and/or military force would be required to quell a similar disturbance in Brownsville and East New York geographically connected with a combined population of 241,000, or 11 times the population of Ferguson? Or cities with almost the same population such as Orlando or St. Petersburg, Florida or closer to NYC like Jersey City.

Ferguson is a microcosm of what could happen to large communities in cities throughout the US whose residents have been economically and geographically marginalized for years similar to what has already occurred in Paris and London. US law enforcement officers adamantly insist that such disturbances would never spiral out of control because of their closer relationships with the community.  The movie The Siege (1998) – well before 9/11 and eerily presicent – was released at the time a far-flung fantasy plot, is a blue print of what can occur.  Even Major General Devereaux played by Bruce Willis, implored the politicos not to deploy the Army to occupy the cities.

Under the ‘wrong’ circumstances the influence of even moderate community leaders can be neutralized by a new and radical community leadership who can ‘hijack’ a community’s emotions and push it towards the abyss. We’re sitting on a tinderbox whose exploding anger and subsequent roaring flames may be difficult to control.


Prescient scene from the movie The Siege (1998)


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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ebola and the 21st Century Ghetto


USA disaster planning scenarios are usually applied to interruption of services against terrorist acts or natural disasters. Psychologically Americans are somewhat better prepared to deal with terrorist acts and natural disasters – the former based on 9/11 and the latter due to climate change and recent freakish storms throughout the country.

Pandemics are in a different category altogether. Ebola is literally a walking plague that does not cause structural damage or interruption of service. It’s a highly fatal virus, something you can’t see or hear and currently transmissible only by contact with bodily fluids including sweat.

Life in many developing countries amongst the not so fortunate is “short and brutal”. In tropical climates many diseases still exist and thrive in these countries despite the best efforts of Western Big Pharma for many reasons but mainly due to poor sanitation. Ebola is just a deadlier plague.

In the US we live in a well-protected bubble environment - a physical and psychological gated community - where our most pressing everyday health problems involve controlling obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and chemicals in our foods. A change in diet and even a pill mitigates these problems. Introduce a deadly virus with no proven vaccine into the bubble and panic ensues. During pandemics it’s civil unrest rather than the disease or virus itself that causes the most harm with respect to injuries and death in a community.

And that’s why should Ebola ever reach a large US city, be prepared for the government to impose its own ‘cordon sanitaire’ (a fancy French term for ‘quarantine’) and the imposition of Homeland Security anti-terrorist laws. Their purpose is for containment and crowd control first, eradication of the virus second. These laws were written with the broadest possible intent to encompass any kind of emergency situation. Anti-terrorist laws provide legal government control and population containment with the enthusiastic assistance of the newly militarized law enforcement with heavy guns and heavier vehicles.

Ebola’s arrival to an African immigrant community in NYC will trigger numerous questions and subsequent responses, none of which are good. Such questions include: Quarantine only those who have symptoms? Forcibly quarantine everyone with possible infected people? If a vaccine is available, who receives it first?

Law enforcement had plenty of practice during the Occupy Wall Street protests for kettling – a form of enforced quarantine. Could we be on the brink of constructing our own unique 21st century ghetto? First, any form of containment of a community whose majority is an ethnic minority or religious group will inevitably provoke charges of racism. Second, members of that community will be shunned and even attacked outside the containment zone.

Keep in mind that even the most international and liberal of cities yet can turn xenophobic in a heartbeat if a particular group is identified as carriers of the virus. People always return to their ‘tribes’. Witness the prejudice against people with AIDS or those of the alternate lifestyle. Can you imagine the violence against Ebola virus carriers? Human nature is not much different in a developing country than in a developed one.

Finally how difficult is it to buy a shovel at the hardware store when a major storm is approaching? Always.  And storms come with plenty of warning every winter so it’s annual arrival is never a surprise. Imagine trying to secure medical supplies should there be an Ebola outbreak, or even rumor of an outbreak, in a major US city? Just the infection of a small part of a neighborhood would stretch the supply inventory. Now apply that to an entire city. The shovels may unfortunately end up being used for digging graves.
 
 
Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.


Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels. We provide you the tools to get on the "Short List" in your inter-cultural and global business endeavors.
Cable TV appearances on 2014 Emmy-award winning international talk show "Fresh Outlook":http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/videos/
Speaker Profilehttp://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/
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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Missiles of October 2014


As tensions mount on the Russian-Ukrainian border, Twilight Zone similarities are forming with respect to a not so long ago crisis that threatened the world. The Cuban missile crisis in 1962 is a close approximation of how a series of developments, either unchallenged or unchecked can, for lack of a better word, mushroom into something more serious.

Fidel Castro completed his revolution by ousting corrupt dictator Batista in a coup. Soon after heavy Russian influence, including military weapons and personnel, occupied Cuba. JFK, a Democrat, the youngest US president at 45 years old, and first Catholic, was in office. It was the summer of 1962 that the Cuban Missile crisis began building as a US armada formed a blockade around the island. This followed a failed US-inspired invasion called the Bay of Pigs. A Russian naval convoy carrying weapons tries to run the blockade as US ships fire warning shots.  Days later a US spy plane, a U-2, is shot down over Cuba by a Soviet missile killing the pilot.  For the US, Cuba was the Near Abroad.
Comparing it to 2014, it’s the Ukraine, the people ousted their president, corrupt yet legitimately elected. Without due process for his alleged crimes, his removal from office was a coup. The Ukraine has a substantial Russian influence in eastern part of the country with factories that produce Russian military equipment and armaments. President Obama is another very young US President, elected when he was 47, Democrat and the first of color in the White House. It’s the summer of 2014 and the Ukrainian crisis may be underway as the Russian military dramatically masses forces and firepower near the Ukranian border. This follows a successful invasion and annexation of Crimea. A Russian truck convoy supposedly carrying humanitarian supplies to ethnic Russians is denied access to cross the Ukrainian border.  Not long before a Malaysian airline jet is shot down by a Russian missile killing all aboard.  For Russia, the Ukraine is the Near Abroad.

The big difference between the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and the 2014 Ukrainian affair is that it does not involve nuclear weapons although in both crises missiles are still the major talking point. Additionally the political and military parallels between the US and Russia in both eras are difficult to overlook like a movie remake. Perversely there’s even an historical link déjà vu because Russia actively seeks to restore strong ties with Cuba once again to have a presence on an island 90 miles from the US.
Militarily the Russian only have the capability of capturing and probably holding what they define as Near Abroad territories. NATO has the military power to repulse or dislodge such a force but is politically highly constrained particularly since the Ukraine is not a NATO member. Should Putin decide either to use military force in a limited engagement to protect the rebels and encounters a forceful Western response, Putin can turn off or severely limit energy supplies to most European countries. Essentially this is political blackmail should the West push him further.

Putin will never risk losing territory or face and won’t hesitate to use this energy leverage. Once again Europe is a pawn between the US and Russia just like the Cold War. Neither the US nor Russia depends on the other for their energy needs and can amply fulfill domestic demand. Instead of the click of a trigger, now it’s a click of a mouse that causes havoc.
With respect to Russia, there will never be an admission of a deliberate energy cut-off or reduction. Russia will claim maintenance requirements, phantom breakdowns, parts shortages, equipment problems and even blame the US for cyber-attack limiting energy flow. And then he can apply and demand higher fees to release more gas and oil essentially political surcharges. Although the West can certainly make things financially difficult for the Russians, the Russian can make things equally difficult for the West. The Russian bear never went away. He’s just awoke from hibernation and he’s hungrier than ever.


  
Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.

Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels. We provide you the tools to get on the "Short List" in your inter-cultural and global business endeavors.

Cable TV appearances on 2014 Emmy-award winning international talk show "Fresh Outlook":http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/videos/
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Zombie Nations | Ebola on Steroids



Since its initial outbreak in 1976, subsequent outbreaks of the Ebola virus have worsened considerably. The current outbreak has killed almost 1000 people with thousands more infected. Originally rural, isolated and contained, the Ebola virus has become unwanted, unwelcome, and perhaps an unstoppable global traveler beyond the porous borders of West African countries with limited resources in a war-ravaged environment. Ironic how Africa was man’s womb and now could it be man’s tomb.

Because of its worldwide threat, short history, little studied with few experts, the Ebola virus has the potential to morph into something even deadlier, impossible to cure with a 100% fatality rate if it should cross-over with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or H5N1 (bird flu) virus. And those are just the ‘celebrity’ viruses. The indigenous diseases are difficult enough to combat in those developing countries so adding Ebola into the toxic mix creates a powerful lethal cocktail.
We very well may be overtaken by this new, dark viral Franken army because of the quickly diminishing efficacy of our antibiotics and other wonder drugs which are no longer wondrous. Episodes of viral “explosions” or “firestorms” turning villages and cities, particularly in war-torn areas with already compromised fragile sanitation systems, into endless rows of bed-ridden, gravely ill populations with a handful of overwhelmed medical staff, may become commonplace. We live in a global, borderless world where even the strictest and most draconian customs and border security can’t guarantee our safety any longer.

 
Copyright Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC 2014. All rights reserved.

Indo-Brazilian Associates LLC is a NYC-based global advisory service and think tank with connections at the highest levels. We provide you the tools to get on the "Short List" in your cross-cultural and global business endeavors.


Cable TV appearances on 2014 Emmy-award winning international talk show "Fresh Outlook":http://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/videos/
Speaker Profilehttp://www.speakermatch.com/profile/GlobalAdvisors/
Published articles:http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Albert_Goldson


Follow us on twitter: @caerusNYC