The Return of the Taliban: The End of the US Empire?

Before 9/11, Nafeez Ahmed warned of an impending invasion of Afghanistan to control a strategic pipeline. 20 years on, the return of the Taliban is the predictable legacy of America’s failed strategy

 “We did not push the Russians into invading, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would,” said Zbigniew Brzezenski, former national security advisor to President Jimmy Carter. “That secret operation was an excellent idea. The effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap.” 
The US and UK played the lead roles in channelling funds and arms to the newly formed ‘mujahideen’, which brought in up to a hundred thousand recruits from across the Muslim world. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were the most prominent among the network of Muslim states funnelling financial, military and logistical support into Afghanistan, coordinated by the CIA, Pentagon, MI6 and Ministry of Defence. Read More

Why renewable energy ‘mini-grids’ in remote communities fail and how to avoid it

Powering our appliances and charging our smart devices night and day is something many take for granted. Yet 789 million people living in remote communities and isolated areas globally do not have access to electricity. If we include the people who are not connected to their national grid, the number rises to 1.4 billion.

The Latest IPCC Report Is a Catastrophe – The Atlantic

The Latest IPCC Report Is a Catastrophe – The Atlantic

 A new United Nations–led report from hundreds of climate scientists around the world makes it clear: The human-driven climate crisis is now well under way. 
Earth is likely hotter now than it has been at any moment since the beginning of the last Ice Age, 125,000 years ago, and the world has warmed 1.1 degrees Celsius, or nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit, since the Industrial Revolution began—an “unprecedented” and “rapid” change with no parallel in the Common Era. 
What’s more, the recent spate of horrific heat waves, fire-fueling droughts, and flood-inducing storms that have imperiled the inhabited world are not only typical of global warming, but directly caused by it.

IPCC to Say Drastic Methane Cuts Necessary to Avert Climate Hell | Common Dreams News

 Slashing carbon dioxide emissions will not be sufficient to avert climate disaster unless the international community also acts boldly to stop releasing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is playing an increasingly significant role in intensifying planetary heating and extreme weather.

“Cutting methane gives us time.”
—Durwood Zaelke, Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue that warning on Monday in the first of three reports that together will constitute the United Nations’ sixth climate assessment since 1990, The Guardian reported Friday. According to the British newspaper, part one of the IPCC’s forthcoming report, which covers physical science, “will show in detail how close the world is to irreversible change.”

Name Change

Name Change

Large Ocean Developing States are island nations with large  Exclusive Economic Zones.  

In the Western Caribbean the Cayman Islands share the region with Cuba, Honduras, and Jamaica.

Leadership Qualities That made Lee Kuan Lee A Great Leader

Lee Kuan Lee 
 Lee Kuan Yew may have passed but his legacy is here to stay and there are a few things about leadership that we can learn from this visionary leader.
Since Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965 — an event Mr. Lee called his “moment of anguish” — he had seen himself in a never-ending struggle to overcome the nation’s lack of natural resources, a potentially hostile international environment and a volatile ethnic mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians.
Lee led Singapore from a colonial backwater under British control to one of the world’s most thriving financial centers, and he did so with a tight grip on power.
“To begin with, we don’t have the ingredients of a nation, the elementary factors: a homogeneous population, common language, common culture and common destiny. So, history is a long time. I’ve done my bit.”

Planning for the future

Exceedingly well written post from James (Jimmy) Fletcher, former Former Minister for Public Service, Information, Broadcasting, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science & Technology at Government of St. Lucia
His seven suggestions are outstandingly good and need desperately to be implemented in the Cayman Islands. 
The fact that our Colonial Overlords, who carry the ultimate power in these islands, do nothing to properly govern these islands leaves me flabbergasted, not to mention their proliferation of the uniformed services.
The cavalier attitude by local members of Parliament towards Democracy and their Electorate proves that they see themselves as our Masters not Public Servants.
Wake Up Cayman Islands.
Two Cents Tuesday No 8 of 2021 (this one is longer than usual)
We have become a country where slogans are much more important than substance. We need to change that.
This year, the theme for our celebration of the 42nd anniversary of our country’s independence is “A Resilient Nation. We Can, We Will”. I like this theme, but not for the reasons you would expect.
Over the last 22 years, we have selected some interesting themes for our independence anniversary celebrations. On two occasions, we have basically kept the theme from the previous year (2015/2016, and 2017/2018). Unless you are a member of Saint Lucia’s Independence Anniversary Committee, I doubt you could, off the top of your head, remember most of these themes. However, even after you have recalled the themes for the respective years, I am almost certain you would not be able to identify any meaningful, sustained actions that we pursued during the year when the theme was current that would have caused the ideal(s) represented in the theme to become the reality for the majority of our citizens. 
So, in effect, the theme for the celebration of our anniversary of 22 February 1979 is like the costume that wins King or Queen of the Bands. We admire these costumes (or themes) on the night of the competition, we parade them through the streets of Castries on Carnival Monday and Tuesday (or during Independence celebrations), and we forget about them for the rest of the year. 
Can we honestly say that our actions have been designed to encourage “respect, tolerance and togetherness”? (2001). Have we been vigorously “guarding our national pride against the global tide”? (2003). Are we doing everything we can to ensure that we are “progressing in face of global challenges”? (2008). Can we honestly say that by our actions we steadfastly adhere to the principle that “tout Sentlisyen se yonn”? (2010). Have we been acting “in unity and dedication for the good of the nation”? (2014). Are we really “all in, our journey, our future”? (2019).
I did say that I like this year’s theme, but you would expect that from me because it speaks of resilience. Not for the first time mind you, because our 2011 theme also spoke of resilience. I guess back then we were invoking the spirit of resilience to recover from the impacts of Hurricane Tomas. But that is not why I like the theme. I like it because it also says, ‘we can, we will’. It suggests determination, commitment and action. However, for this to not be just another empty slogan, it must commit us to meaningful, substantial actions.
So, here are my recommendations for the themes for our independence anniversary celebrations for the next seven years, in no particular order, building on the foundation of ‘we can, we will’.
1. We can, we will work towards eliminating violence against women by changing how we raise our young boys so that they do not see girls/women as objects for their pleasure, but instead as people whose wishes must always be respected.
2. We can, we will, become a more fiscally responsible government, so that we stop living above our means and spending money on misplaced priorities, while carrying a debt burden that increases relentlessly every year.
3. We can, we will make urgent improvements to the justice system so that young men and women do not spend years remanded at Bordelais while they await trial.
4. We can, we will put an end to corruption at all levels of government so that our scarce financial resources can be used more efficiently and effectively for the benefit of all the people.
5. We can, we will work assiduously towards revitalizing agri-business in our country so that we become a country that feeds itself with fresh, wholesome, locally grown produce, as opposed to one that is slowly killing itself with dated, imported, canned and frozen food.
6. We can, we will re-establish our balance with our environment so that we protect our watersheds, our rich biodiversity and our land and marine ecosystems that are responsible for the quality of life we enjoy and which support all economic activity. 
7. We can, we will educate and empower our citizens to help them to understand their rights and responsibilities so that they have the capacity, each in their own way, to make a meaningful contribution to the sustainable development of our country.
If we focus our attention and resources on one of these things every year for the next seven years, then in 2029, when we turn 50, we will truly be able to celebrate the fact that “We Did!”.