Monday, January 23, 2012

A Real Reason for Peace: The Lily Voelkel Foundation

Afghanistan remains unstable after over a decade of intervention. Pakistan is on the edge of another coup. Iran continues to test the will of the west to enforce a nuclear standard. Israel challenges the resolve of the Middle East and the West simultaneously. China's perceived strength grows unchecked and questionably confirmed. The continent of Africa struggles with persistent conflict from within. The EU seems fractured. Hugo Chavez and Venezuela keep knocking at the Western hemisphere's door. The Arab spring has elapsed through seasons and continues into another spring. These and many other matters demonstrate there is a lot going on in the world. 

But, from time to time we need to step away from the world and just come home. I was moved by this story from a friend whose inspiration, enthusiasm, and hopefully positive outlook on life is a model actually worth following.  I encourage you to stop for a moment and learn about Lily. Then you may understand why there is so much to take advantage of each day.

Welcome to Lily Voelkel Foundation | Lily Voelkel Foundation

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Afghanistan Questions

Here are a few questions I have been thinking about lately after some discussions about Afghanistan and the area.

Is there a major generational gap between the Afghan society that remembers pre-1979 Afghanistan and the current version of Afghanistan? To what extent is the gap reshaping the culture into a new Afghanistan?

What are we really saying when we say we want to fight the Taliban? Are we focusing too much on a literal individual, or do we really mean the disruptive radical ideology? What happens if the "Taliban" turn moderate in terms of their use of violence to promote their ideology?

To what extent is the Muslim Brotherhood courting the Taliban to moderate their (Taliban) extreme perception? Is there any relation at all? If so, should we then be worried about a more moderated Taliban?

To what extent will successful bottom-up village level initiatives modify the overall Afghan governance architecture?

How ripe is Pakistan for another military coup?