The first thing that hits you when you step off the plane in LA is just how eager people are to help you out here - or at least that's what I've found. I've been perpetually impressed with waitresses, bar tenders, shop workers - pretty much everyone I've come across in the service sector, have all been exceptionally polite and almost too eager to help.
Just after dawn prayers, my Twitter newsfeed was filled with breaking headlines confirming that the US along with its Arab allies had begun airstrikes against ISIS in the Syrian city of Raqqa. Both the Assad regime and the Obama administration have denied any collusion regarding this military offensive but if you scratch beneath the surface, it becomes relatively clear that there was a lot more collaboration behind closed doors than most would think.
With the Middle East's biggest players coming together under the US-led campaign against ISIS, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Marvel's Avengers Assemble. While Obama can justifiably play the lead role of Nick Fury, is ISIS on the other hand as formidable as Loki? With the military capability of the GCC and Egypt alone, what chance does ISIS really have against a unified effort by neighbouring states?
Is it the loss of a Democrat majority in the House? The Republicans stubbornness and inability to compromise? The continuous barriers against Obama's attempts to pass certain Acts? Or is it because the House is filing a law suit against him? (Yes really). Clearly all of these things coupled together worsen the situation, but Obama's main problem is that he's just too nice to be President.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of accounts on Twitter that promote and justify killings of civilians in Iraq, as well as Kurdistan. Some of the accounts tweet in Arabic, but have a English disclaimer that says, "Not IS". Other accounts are promoting IS ideological beliefs and urging others to join IS.
On a recent trip across America, I naturally felt like a stranger in a strange land. Things have moved on and changed a lot during the years of my travels. But some things never change, and I found myself in hundreds of casual conversations across the continent, engaging in the same sort of message repeatedly, a message about things I never knew when I grew up there...
The first amendment in the United States is a wonderful thing. It means you can say whatever you like about anything... But with the increasing popularity of Facebook comment section fights, and chatroom brawls, I'm seeing more and more often that people seem to forget that freedom of speech goes both ways.
As Randolph Bourne said when writing about World War I in 1918, war is the health of the state. As America's power has grown, so has its propensity for war. Regardless of the debates about the justness or morality of war, the numbers have shown peace to be the exception in America while war has been the rule, making this last century since the start of World War I undeniably a century of warfare.