The Arms Race in Space

An interesting insight into America’s weapons capability in space but also a difficult moral dilemma. Is it morally acceptable to dominate space in the national interest and at the expense of other nations? America is much more advanced than any other nation in space and could use that advantage, might even be a smart move who knows? However maybe we should share space and avoid another arms race?
Who is asking, a concerned, idealistic American, Mike More. Well worth watching.

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A US Odyssey – In the beginning

Roanoke small     A US Odyssey – In the beginning

America is big, no doubt but it’s also incredibly diverse and complicated. So where to begin our Odyssey? Well the beginning is always a good place to start and America is remarkable even in its beginning. What we now know as the United States of America started late in European terms, around 1585. The Spanish Empire had done well in South America, a fact not unnoticed in Britain. There was gold in the New World, fabulous wealth just for the taking. South America was in the iron grip of the mighty Spanish Empire but North America was open.

It didn’t evolve so much as it materialised, overnight in evolutionary terms. The European nations evolved over thousands of years of war, trade and gradual population migration but in North America the pace of change was breath taking. The First Nations (Indians) were swept aside and mankind began a new era. The Anthropocene age, the Age of Man began with a jolt. Make no mistake, this was a pivotal moment in human history.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31836233)

The British Empire with all of  its old world European political drama, competition with the Spanish and later the French, descended in what must have seemed like an invasion from Mars. So what was the attraction? Gold and land, the essence of freedom to most people. Britain was threatened by Spain’s vast wealth and growing influence. War with Spain was inevitable and Britain needed to compete in the New World. There were also many dissatisfied people looking for a new start, Catholics in particular had a hard time under the reign of the Tudors. From the start America attracted. and still does, those seeking change and willing to risk everything to better themselves.

The British believed that there was gold there. Rich noblemen organised themselves into commercial groups with investors and shareholders just as they do today. These gentlemen applied for charters from Queen Elizabeth 1, there was absolutely no way to do business without her. From the very beginning the whole thing was about money and power and these, “gentlemen” were anything but gentle. They actually expected to walk ashore and find gold mines which they would of course simply take by force.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert and his half brother Sir Walter Raleigh (tobacco and potatoes) started the first colony on Roanoak Island North Carolina. Much has been written elsewhere about the early British attempts to settle North America but for me the interesting thing is that it was a British commercial venture from the start. A few, wealthy, well connected noblemen with estates in England, France and Ireland,, bent on furthering their own interests drove the entire process. Their patriotism was a convenient cloak for the pursuit of wealth and power. They were ruthless and violent, their followers were criminals, pirates and adventurers. Sir Gilbert himself had a long and bloody history fighting the Irish and the French.

The media, even then, was used to whip up enthusiasm for investors and settlers. The New World was heavily spun, there was no mention of famine, disease, gross incompetence, hostile savages and indentured servitude. There was freedom to practice your own spiritual beliefs, there was opportunity and there was land. A steady stream of adventurers, religious refugees and those looking for land poured across the Atlantic. They died in appalling numbers while those rich gentlemen ran things, mostly from the old country.

The scene was set and the greatest Empire the world has ever seen, began its meteoric climb through the annals of history. The future is a matter for discussion but in those early beginnings certain national characteristic were forged. I believe that they hold true even today and will stand America in good stead for the future, They are worth highlighting,

A refusal to be constrained by anything

A strong ability to evolve and organise

A positive “can do” attitude, absolutely nothing is impossible

A surprising, quiet resilience and an ability to endure hardship

A truly grand sense of scale, in all things

America has come a long way in a very short time but I believe she is only just beginning. Her example shows us that the future is not a matter of chance, it can be built. If America gets it right, and I believe that she will, she will lead us into a better world. A world beyond nations where humanity can evolve in peace and prosperity. It won’t be easy but the alternative is grim, so let’s invest ourselves in the future and keep our minds open, help and not hinder. The American dream is not just for Americans, it never was. That dream is for the world, a New World.

 

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A US Odyssey – Understanding 21st Century America

The world is fascinated by the United States of America. It may be a love hate relationship but as arguably the last, greatest superpower nobody can deny the extent of America’s influence on the world. Everybody has an opinion about America and Americans, yet, what do we really know if we are honest? And what do Americans think about the rest of the world? One of the most common misconceptions about Americans is that they neither know, nor care about the rest of the world. Remember it is always easier to blame and criticise than it is to keep an open mind and go to the trouble of finding out for yourself. Being a superpower America is often the target for unfair and irrational complaint. That bellyaching all too often comes with a side of,

“We need more financial aid please.” All Americans are rich, right?

It’s all about perspective and your point of view. As ever the trick is to try and see things from the other person’s point of view, whoever you are. Otherwise it boils down to them and us and we all know where that goes.

America is complicated. Throw in race, religion, politics, capitalism, health care, war, education and the wealth gap and you have a seemingly incomprehensible cultural maelstrom. This is the United States of America! Perhaps it’s cultural diversity and complexity is the source of its power and vigour, who can say?

It is the wise person who knows how little they know and the wise person is always willing to learn. I believe that the more that the world knows about America the better and the more America knows about itself the stronger it will be. We have an opportunity here, the human race has never been so connected, let’s use our technology, let’s have some fun and learn something new.

So, this US Odyssey is a journey of exploration, literally and metaphorically. That American cultural icon, the Road Trip will shed light on the true nature of America and that of course means Americans. For it is the people that give any country its cultural, spiritual and philosophical roots. Americans are by nature a diverse breed but what is it that unites them? What binds them together, what makes the United States of America such a powerhouse, so completely unlike anything that has gone before? It truly is, still, a New World and I for one can’t wait to see more of it.

Come with me, let’s use our connectivity to good effect. Help me give this Juggernaut structure and form, let’s watch it evolve together. Go to the website, choose your media, engage.

See you out there.      http://www.usodyssey.com

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