The Role of the Department of Homeland Security.

The Department Homeland Security or DHS was conceived as a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack that caught the entire American nation flat-footed and left the world in shock. The agency was created in 2002 during the administration of President George W. Bush. It is a totally different agency from that of the Defense Department which oversees the United States Armed Forces (Office of Homeland Security, 2002).    As it is or some six years after its creation, I believe that DHS should function as the civilian arm of the government tasked to ensure the safety of its citizens within the country. It should be the federal agencys responsibility to handle internal security and national disasters and emergencies. While the department functions in terrorism-based efforts, the military should still have the main responsibility concerning national security so that DHS would be able to concentrate on domestic undertakings like disaster operation. This aspect shows the clear difference between DHS and the military because the latter focuses on military concerns and issues covering the local and international spectrum. Thus, it is very clear that there is no conflict or duplication of functions between these two departments. Both agencies can, however, complement each other in pursuit of their respective missions.     With the creation of the DHS, various agencies previously attached to other departments are now grouped and unified under its umbrella, thereby making it easier to undertake interrelated functions and missions. The importance of its role was highlighted during the aftermath brought by hurricane Katrina where authorities of the affected areas had insufficient capabilities to cope up with the horrendous damage.    The role of the military is also distinct and clear as far as domestic issues are concerned. The military shall always serve only as support unit during emergencies, except when this would involve national security such as when there is civil unrest where the police and homeland forces shall have difficulty addressing the same, or when the country is under attack by foreign forces. As envisioned, the DHS shall have the immediate responsibility of dealing emergency situations in any of the states without further coordination with other federal agencies. Its existence actually facilitates swift response and assistance of the federal government to any local or affected areas. Evidently, this new agency, which is civilian in nature, should be allowed to evolve into a massive federal infrastructure ready to provide social services in any state at any given time or when the situation calls for it.

Neo-Realism The Conflict in the Middle East.

Establishing a secure, peaceful, and harmonious international community is one of the areas of interest in studying international relation. The greater interaction among states and other non-state actors also entails disagreement and conflicts among them. Due to this, scholars are looking at various theories in order to explain this kind of phenomenon. There are many schools of thought that have their own respective explanations and assumptions regarding the cause of conflict in the international community. One of thee most notable schools of thought is Realism that gives importance to the power of the state as the vital actor in the international community. Nevertheless, the lens of realism gives two distinct explanations in order to identify the source of conflict in the international community that is better understood through the Classical Realist and Neo-Realist points of view.
    The Classical Realist argues that the source of conflict in the international community is brought about by animus dominandi or the will to power of states. On the other hand, the Neo-Realist perspective asserts that the anarchical nature of the international system creates persistent insecurity, which is responsible for international conflict (Copeland 11-13). In relation to this, it is the main objective of this paper to argue that Neo-Realism better explained the cause of conflict in the international community because it takes into account the other sources of conflict aside from states will to power and this is clearly seen in the case of the Middle East conflict.

Comparison of Classical Realist and Neo-Realist
    The classical realists started during World War II and also at the time of the Cold War. One of the most notable personalities that have substantially and greatly contributed to the classical realist perspective is Hans Joachim Morgenthau. Classical Realists explain that the constant conflict among nations is brought about by the elemental biopsychological drives that characterized human beings. There are two important drives that tend to explain the source of conflict among human beings and even among states. First, the presence of an elementary egoism which arises from the competition for those scarce material and ideational goods that enable human beings to survive (Freyberg-Inan 68). The second cause of conflict is the will of human beings to power. Morgenthau explains that human beings ahs the desire to rise above other people, which is exemplified in the element of selfishness. In addition, Morgenthau asserted that the tendency to dominate is present in all human associations starting from the family and even up to the state. In this sense, he concluded that the world is inhabited by selfish and self-aggrandizing beings, which makes international politics a realm of evil. Due to this, the cause of conflict in the international community is the constant struggle between selfish and power-hungry states that seeks power as an end in itself as well as a way in order to accomplish their other objectives. Being the case, the main argument of classical realists is that the egoistic nature of human beings is the cause of all political conflict in the international community (Van Evera 7-10).
    On the other hand, Neo-Realism, the modified version of the classical realist perspective gives a different approach in understanding the cause of conflict in the international community. Kenneth Waltz is recognized as the father of neo-realism, which explains the neo-realist perspective through the mature version of his approach to the theory of international politics. He rejects the classical realist argument that the will to power arise because human beings are naturally born to be power seekers. In relation to this, he suggests that human nature is too difficult to determine, which makes not a viable determinant of war. As such, Waltz asserts that emphasis should be given to the constraints that compel human beings. The Neo-Realist perspective is based on the rationale that cause of conflict is due to the competitive situations and force that exist in the absence of an authority, which should function as a mechanism in order to limit the resources used by conflicting parties. In general, Neo-Realists believe that the anarchical nature of the international system is the cause of conflict in the international community because it creates persistent insecurity (Freyberg-Inan 73).
    During this contemporary time, many changes have already been observed in the international system as well as the respective countries that composed it. Being the case, new threats had emerged like the presence of terrorism, which entails that states act differently as compared before in order to address these problems as well as to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world (Ethridge and Handleman 566). Due to this, the cause of conflict in the international arena is not merely attributed to the human nature of individuals because the insecurity in their environment is also a cause and aggravating factor in the conflicts that happening. Being the case, the argument of the Neo-realist is more applicable in explaining the cause of conflict at this current time.
Sunni and Shia
    The Sunni and Shia are the two major denominations of the Islamic religion. Sunnis hold the majority members of Islam, since it composes 85-90 of religious adherents while the Shias only constitute 10-15 of the Muslim world (Singh 7). Nevertheless, the number of followers of each respective denominations of Islam tends to vary in the different countries in the World. Shias have a more dominant population in countries such as Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain. Sunnis make up the majority of Muslim communities in South East Asia, China, South Asia, Africa, and other states that also follow the Islamic religion. The identification of the followers of the Sunni Islam is derived from the importance that they give to Sunni or the examples coming from the hadiths. Sunnis strongly believe in the continuance of the Islamic religion as it was defined in the revelations given to Prophet Muhammad. On the other hand, the term Shia pertains to the partisans of the fourth Caliph (Singh 7).
     The conflict between the Sunnis and the Shias can be rooted on the schism that took place during the death of Prophet Muhammad. Islamic communities in different parts of the world, especially in the Middle East started to have a dispute regarding the legitimate successor of Muhammad to become the next Caliph. The Sunnis assert that Abu Bakr should be Muhammads successor because he is legitimized by the Shura, which is endorsed by the Quran. Shura is the method of electing leaders in Islam that is participated by the Ummah or Muslim community wherein who ever will get the consensus of the Ummah will be the leader. In connection to this, the Rashidun rightly-guided Caliphs who were chosen to rule after the death of Muhammad includes Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman Ibn Affan, and Ali. Being one of the four caliphs, the Sunnis argue that Abu Bakr should be the rightful successor of Muhammad. On the other hand, Shias believe that Ali should lead the Muslim world after the death of Muhammad. Ali is the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad through his daughter Fatima. Shias pointed out that Muhammad divinely ordained Ali to be his next successor, which is in accordance with the wishes of Allah. Due to this, the Shias rejected the legitimacy of Abu Bakr because they believe that Ali is the most divinely inspired man after Muhammad. Being the case, the only people who are legitimate to be leaders of Islam are the successors of Muhammad and the Imams (Spencer 58-61).
    The conflict between the religious belief of the Sunnis and the Shias further worsen to the point that armed conflict between different countries in the Middle East had been observable. One of the most notable wars because of religious causes is the Iran-Iraq War. The Iran-Iraq War also known as the Imposed War and the Holy Defense started with the Iraqs invasion of Iran. The reasons for the war is due to the border disputes between these two countries but it is also largely due to their religious differences. The Iraqi government decided to attack Iran because of their fear that the Iranian Revolution might spill over their country. The majority of the citizens in Iraq are Shias but its government is dominated by Sunni leaders. Due to this, the Shias citizens of Iraq are largely place in a disadvantageous position wherein they are tortured and even killed because of their religious belief (Pelletiere 25-26). The Iraqi government is worried that the Iranian Revolution might be seen by the Shias majority of the country as a way in order to stage a revolution against the Iraqi government. The Iran-Iraq War became very violent because it was participated by the respective governments of the countries as well as the support of other states which also aggravated the conflict (Rajaee 199-205).
    The case of the Iran-Iraq War is not merely the concern of the two countries involved in this conflict because its implications also affect the welfare of the whole international community. Religious conflicts are rooted in the very belief system of an individual. The Middle Eastern region is mostly composed of Islamic countries that give much importance to their religious belief to the point that they patterned their lifestyle as well as their decisions and actions in it. Religious conflict, specifically those that participated by the governments of different countries poses a huge threat to international peace and security, especially if a spill over took place (Spencer 19). The Muslim communities in different parts of the world could join in the conflict, which will result in much unrest in the society. Furthermore, the intervention and participation of other countries in war is a serious aggravating factor that is very difficult to prevent because these states have sovereignty, which makes it difficult for international organizations to interfere with their actions (Shinoda 132).
    The conflict between the Sunnis and the Shias and other religious disputes in the Middle East show that the anarchical nature of the international system is indeed the cause of conflict in the international arena. The actions of states are not governed or limited by an authority that could help in managing the actions of state actors. In relation to this, threats like religious conflicts and its spill over are not properly address because there is no political entity that will make sure that these problems are addressed. The presence of international organizations like the United Nations is not enough because most negotiations that aim to resolve various issues of peace and order usually ended in a stalemate because states cannot agree with a coherent means to address it. The issue of inequality in these international organizations is also an important concern because most of the time powerful and influential states tend to dominate the decisions and actions of international organizations (Taylor 125). As such, the anarchical international system indeed creates persistent insecurity, which is the cause of international conflict.
Conflict in the Middle East
    For many years, the Middle East had been a region which had been exposed to wars and conflicts. Dating back to the Middle Ages, conflicts of hierarchy and power had been important for different tribes and sects in the region. In the continuous years of conflict, many tribes had separated and conflicts heightened. In the course of the decades none of the conflicts were fully resolved instead, many conflicts had taken a much wider span for it had involved different countries in the region.
    In many literatures, different authors have stated that the main cause of conflict in the Middle Eastern region is their natural resource which is mainly oil. As known to many, oil is an important commodity in the world for this region is providing the highest number of barrels. Thus, the worldmostly the western regions had seen that the Middle East region is one of the most profitable and advantageous due for economic purposes.
    Moreover, the oil resources had also been a source of conflict by religious sects within the region thus the conflict and attainment of arable lands which could provide a great source of oil.  Furthermore, conflicting interest of different states had always been present. Therefore, western countries had been active in attaining the major lands and investments in the region. However some countries within the Middle East region had been blocking the involvement of the Western world to their territories (Hanel 8).
    In the book written by Edward Said, he mentioned that the western world had made a stereotype against the people of the region. Moreover, the author had mentioned that the concept of the west had seen the peoples in the region as though they are violent. Thus, this leads to the view point of the westerners that Islam religion and Muslims had propaganda. For the reasons that the concept of westerners have negative viewpoint against Middle Eastern people the whole world had also seen the region as violent and radical (158).
    Through stereotyping of their culture as well as being racist against Muslims and Islam had been very typical especially during 1980s. Through films, different kinds of racist attacks had been prevailed in the western world. Moreover, in the 1990s the Arabs and Muslims had been the bad people in the scene. Different wars had sprung which had said to come form different parts of the Middle Eastern Region.
Moreover, the biggest headline that had come to the Western world is the attack in September 11, 2001. Through that said incident many had highly feared Muslims and Arabs which lead to a higher case of racism against the whole region. Thus, different countries had lead to the purpose of protecting their territories against the terrorist attack of different organizations within Middle East. In addition to this, the western world had gained paranoia which lead to much greater war. The wars in Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Afghanistan and the likes had immediately followed. Although the western world had managed to convince some groups that the wars they promote are only caused by their war against terrorist acts, it is only a manifestation of its desire to control economic power within the region.
Arabs and Jews
    As mentioned in the background of the Middle East conflict, one of the countries at war is the Arabs and Jews. The Arabs and Jews conflict or otherwise known as the Israel-Palestine Conflict had been present for many years. The conflict had dated back during the time of British dominance in the region. Similar to the current interest of the Western regions, one of the most battled issues at hand is still oil. However prior to the concerns regarding oil, one of the reasons for colonization of the region is to incorporate other regions such as Christianity, Islam and the likes. Although different theorist and analysts look at the situation the main reason for conflict is really based on the amount of resources which are present in the state. Among others, religious beliefs had also been an important in the region. Provided that the concept of Islam beliefs is strong, the minority religions are over lapped by the most influential groups. Furthermore, the importance of the unity had also played a big role in the conflicts within the region.
    Another importance source of conflict is the continuing support of the Western countries in the wars. Reflecting that the United States had supported Israel during the Gaza Strip conflict had creating a mounting power against Palestine. Due to the funding of the United States, there had been many deaths and people became displaced which caused a larger societal problem for both states. In addition, support from other countries presents that the war being experienced is reasonable and proper.
    Reflecting on the situation of Israel and Palestine, it is very obvious that the context of power is very important to different states involved. The power which had been presented in the war is not only the power to attack but there is also a yearning for power of economic power. Consequently, the concept of power is not strongly reliant to how aggressive a state could be but on how it could influence other states. In addition to this, economic power is considered as a gain for a country. Given that oil is the main commodity needed by all the nations in the world, it had been significant for the Western world to gain a strong influence on the decision making process and activities of Middle East countries. Thus, activities such as wars are taken advantaged by the West to manipulate Middle East countries.    
    Although western countries had presented strong interest in the Middle East none of these countries have succeeded in their goal. Instead, Middle East countries had been strong to their ideology against Western influence. Moreover, the culture of the Arabs and Jews are also considered upon this situation. Given that these groups have different beliefs, the need to create sameness had been a struggle. Further, the importance of allowing mediation had not been a successful option for both countries (Finkelstein 7). 
    In the book written by James Gelvin, he had mentioned that the Israel-Palestine conflict had been present for many years already. Different wars, locations and reason had been utilized in order to justify the causes of wars between both states. Moreover, he pointed out the both of the groups involved in the conflict are currently justifying the concern with regards to their sense of nationalism. Furthermore, both of the states claim different aspects of their history where in they have different views. Moreover, the synthesized idea of the author highly mentions that both of the country is presenting their claims based on their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Thus, such claim is much more difficult to justify rather than other issues. Thus, Gelvin mentioned nationalism is very subjective that it is difficult to address. Through this, he mentioned the importance of the idea regarding the idea of attachment to different place which is highly claimed by Muslims and Arabs (1-12).
    In the side of the Jews, Zionism is stated to be the political expression of the whole nation of Palestine. As a matter of fact, Zionism is the mixture of Jewish history all together. In the Jewish history, it was studied that there are narratives which addressed the question of authority of the Jews to the state of Palestine. From the perspective of the Jews, they see that they have the right over their nation for they are seen as the descendants of Abraham. Furthermore, the Bible high mentioned he history of the Jews which made the Bible as the main source of their information (5).
    In the realist perspective, the concept of power is based on the aggressiveness of the state. The aggressiveness of the state is interpreted on how it could influence fear to other nations. Thus, more countries respond to war as its main method to create peace and security. Thus reflecting on the actions done by Israel and Palestine both had resulted to war in order for them to gain peace, security and authority. Therefore, realism is based on the high attainment of power of arms. Moreover, the traditional perspective of realism is utilized by more states because it causes immediate and visible effects to the country.
     In the neo-realist perspective Kenneth Waltz had presented his own perspective regarding such ideology. He mentioned that the ideology of neo-realism is mainly based on the relations of the countries in the international community. In neo-realism the states need to survive while only focusing on their needs as a country. Moreover, Waltz mentioned that the state is a national territorial actor, which is fundamentally constrained and embedded within an anarchical system of states (Cited in Hobson Waltz, 8). Furthermore, the ideology pertaining to the concept of state is alike to the concept of markets where in each of these states need to compete in markets in order to survive in the international community. In addition to this, Waltz suggests that there should be uni-polar, bipolar, or a multi-polar system in order to have a balanced power in the international community.
    In application, the conflict between Israel and Palestine are highly related to the balance of power that must be present in the international community. Given that the conflict is due to the struggle of power, the international community must create an international organization that is able the impose power against the problems of the country. Through a sovereign power of an international organization, the possibility of attaining peace and reconciliation among these states are much possible. Furthermore, the need to create a higher entity in the international community is suggested in order to gain much security and peace. Thus, the higher entity should be able to incorporate and manipulate states without breaking the sovereignty of each state.

U.S. Government.

The tax system of the U.S. Government has been improving for more than 200 years. Today it serves not only to supply the income of the federal budget, states budget and local budgets, but it is also the instrument for the economy development. The formation of the budget and the capital movement play the major role in the implementation of the economic policy of the United States government. Taxes that provide the major takings and the most stable one are directed into the federal budget. The federal budget shares about 70 of the expenses and incomes (Pechman, 1987).
    By the end of the 19th century, the worldwide economic center moved from Great Britain to the United States. A number of financial and industrial enterprises have taken the control over several key fields of the American economy  steel smelting, tobacco, telegraph, roads, and a great number of other spheres. Among them are such giants of the world size as General Motors, IBM, Microsoft and others. The Council on Foreign Relations is the biggest organization in the world that unites the most influential people of the United States and the Western Europe. Among them are former and active presidents, ministers, leading bankers, financiers, mass media representatives, transnational corporations and others. The founder of this system was a famous banker Morgan. This unofficial organization has influenced the American policy and strategy in the world and their target was to achieve world power status. It was founded in 1921 as a part of the Carnegie foundation and it influenced the worldwide policy. The headquarters of the C.F.R. are situated in New York (Shoup et al, 2004).
    Due to the technological progress and the modernization of the communications in the 20th century, the World Wide Web, called the Internet, has spread all over the world. The U.S. Government were the first to propose the term e-democracy, with the help of the scientists from Great Britain and USA, and eventually it has gained its popularity among scientific and corporation universities.
The e-democracy means the implementation of the new technologies for the protection and development of the main democratic values. It also serves to attract citizens in global decision-making process of the local government. The electronic democracy helps people to sense their personal participation in the politics of the country and to observe the effectiveness of their own choice. The possibilities from using the Internet and its informational structure are boundless. People can use polls, votes to choose their candidate, retrieve various information of the candidate from the mass-media web sites to organize electronic elections. The experts concern the term e-democracy as a technological aspect, assuming that the modern democracy is changing through the communication system, and can influence the political authority (Helmut et al., 2004).
    The electronic democracy in the United States is developing in a rapid rate and it is getting more power, than television debates. Internet lobbying is the most popular side of the e-democracy in the United States, it involves three main sectors the usage of the computer network as an informational source of the lobbying direct informational pressure by the means of the Internet and usage of the computer networks for communicating bodies of the state power.
    The information technology is the most effective tool for increasing the governmental power, reducing its unproductive expenses and strengthening its authority in the modern society. One by one country, all over the world, are developing new model of government that will allow people to observe and to choose the course they desire. U.S. Government e-system is spread all over the country and in Canada, as well. It is chasing the goal to ease and to cheap the process of communication and election between the people and the government.

Waking Up from the American Dream

It can be observed that for the past decade, thousands of immigrants have gone to seek greener pastures in America to pursue the dream that lies at the very heart of every individual living in the United States- the American dream. America is viewed by the world as the land of opportunities and possibilities and as such, the social stigma of this dream is linked to the very foundation of this countrys ideals and principles. In recent discussions, one controversial issue raised was whether or not this American dream is still alive and attainable. Holly Sklar of The Growing Gulf between the Rich and the Rest of Us argues that poverty levels are rising and that America is becoming a downward mobile society and without any change in course, this American dream will be history (Sklar 311). On the other hand, Bruce Bartlett of The Truth About Wages contends that poverty levels are down and that households with larger income are on the rise. He states that  despite the talk about the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor, the fact is that the percentage of households with low incomes has fallen and the  percentage of those with high incomes has risen (Bartlett 314). The Economist article, Inequality and the American Dream suggested that America is defined by the dream of economic opportunity and upward mobility. Therefore, the presentation of these different views are geared towards the notion of having a less obtainable American Dream.
    My person definition of American Dream is the idea of having a fuller and richer life through determination and hard work. However, this American dream is slipping away because financial strife and educational inequalities often prevent upward mobility. Based on my observation, the issue of whether or not there is inequality is not as important as addressing the solutions to the growing crisis of financial strife. If the root cause of the problems are solved, these alleged inequalities will disappear as well thereby reviving the peoples passion to chase the American dream.
     In his Thanksgiving speech, the President mentioned that the crisis of recession and joblessness has led many to believe that their chances in achieving prosperity is dwindling. The recession that the country is facing today is the worst one in the history of the United States. Many people are struggling hard to afford their health care insurance, house bills and education (Thompson). Every new story about an impending threat to the economy turns the American dream into dust. For instance, the crisis about poverty, health care and housing are but a few of the reasons why many people are troubled. Those families who are spending almost all of their finances for housing have nothing left to spend for food, health care and education. It is a devastating fact that more than 14 million children live in households where their families have less than 500 to spend for their necessary expenses. One of the questions that lingers in the minds of many is whether or not it is still possible to afford the American dream in the existing market economy (Wasik).  It is a sad fact that many people cannot do anything but watch this dream fade away as their mortgage crisis deepens.
    There are many reasons why people feel that the American dream are far from their reach and some of these factors can be attributable to the fact that many are experiencing rising conditions of poverty. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  the average worker is not in a better condition today as he was seven years ago. The median annual earnings for men fell to about 41, 386 in 2005 from 43, 158 in 2003 despite the steady growth of the economy. The passivity of the workers despite the stagnation of income mean many things. It is possible that their morale have been beaten down in the past years and as such, they are grateful enough for having a source of income. Due to the declining health coverage, many of these people cling to their current jobs because of fear of losing their health benefits (Bartlett).  This is the underlying fact that explains why many parents are not able to support their childrens education. There are thousands of American kids who are not able to go to school because of their familys lack of financial means and it is because of this reason the the educational inequalities in the country widens.
    Above all other countries, America defines itself by the dream of upward mobility and it is the dream that many of the immigrants want to fulfill. They have risked their jobs and families in their own lands in order to have a taste of a promising life in the United States. According to a single parent and an immigrant from Monterey Mexico, everyday is a struggle to earn enough money to take care of his three children. He starts work early every morning at a local fernery. He used to work full time but he said that the the economic downturn has made life difficult. He is working more or less thirty hours per week which is not a considerable salary to survive. Before, he used to work up to sixty hours. He does maintenance jobs for the fernery but today, the fern industry is still reeling from hurricanes in 2004 which wiped out 76 million dollars of fern and nursery crops. Marcelino Gil came to the United States in 1977 when he was just 19 years old in search of greener pastures. When he arrived, he was able to make good money but nowadays, it is impossible because the work is not enough for their familys daily subsistence so he is contemplating in returning to Mexico. He has worked in Pearson fernery for 20 years and is a legal United States resident but the Mexican immigrant said that he feels that his dream of a better life in America s slipping away. He said that this country welcomed him and he liked here because nothing awaits him in Mexico but if the economy continues like it is now, there is no chance to stand out (Moore).
    Some readers are challenging my view that the American dream is slipping way  because they seem to think that the country is doing its best to recover from the pool of problems that it is experiencing. After all, many readers believe that the American dream is about determination and hard work of an individual and regardless of what is happening in the society, the fate of everybody lies in their own hands. On the other hand, I strongly feel that every person must not waste their time chasing dreams such as this one. It is not my intention to ruin the hopes of those who firmly believe in the American dream. I just want to stress out the reality about the mounds of problems that is burdening the country now. This should interest everybody because my point is that all must concentrate on the larger issue of poverty, financial strife and inequality. I believe that in order to move forward, the obstacles in the pathway to success must be cleared out first.
    From the birth of America until today, the motivating factor for many people have always been their pursuit for the American dream. I believe that the real essence of this dream is being able to control ones destiny in order to have a better life and a better future. As the saying goes, success is but a journey and not the final destination and in the same way, the American dream can be compared to this belief but due to the devastating sequence of events that is happening in the country, many cannot be blamed for wanting to wake up from it.